April 21, 2024


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A linguist jokingly teases the English

A linguist jokingly teases the English

For linguist Bernard Cerchiglini, English is the most poorly pronounced French. He returns to the qualifications of some Englishmen.

Will he send it to King Charles III? Published by linguist Bernard Cerchiglini with Callimard “There's no English language – it's French mispronounced” . A book “Written in a humorous, deliberately bad faith, arrogant, chauvinistic way”. This provocative title is not intended to make the King choke on his morning tea. But to highlight exchanges between the French and the English since William the Conqueror invaded the Kingdom of England in 1066. “English”.

“Let me return my book as a tribute to the English language, which has managed to accept so many words”he explains to AFP. “What strikes me is the flexibility of English. There are Viking, Danish, French words, it's amazing”, notes this vice-president of the Fondation des Alliances Français, which is dedicated to the promotion of French culture and language. The Norman Conquest introduced the vocabulary of the new ruling aristocracy into the English language and provided English with similar words. “cabbage”Meaning “cabbage”It actually comes from Norman “Nagin”President, in the 150 years since William the Conqueror's accession to the throne.

Multiple loans

Borrowing from French exploded in the 13th and 14th centuries, and was later used in business, administration, and law. “A job, a fortune in land or money, the honor of a contract, freedom or even a person's life depend on mastery” Of language, the linguist writes. Half of these loans occurred between 1260 and 1400 “Bachelor”, The “separate”From French “The Bachelor”Recruiting a young man in training, especially in the military world.

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Two centuries later, 40% of 15,000 words of works By playwright William Shakespeare “of French descent”, Bernard Serglini underlines. But today, on the other side of the Channel, some are bracing themselves against the place of words “Anglo-Saxons” Responsible for preserving the language in its form since 1635 in modern French, especially the French Academy “pure”.

English globish

“The language in France is official, state, national. Therefore, we need an academy” with “Academics with ridiculous clothes, swords, palaces on the banks of the Seine” In Paris, Bernard Cerglini smiles. The Academy fought against new technical regulations such as “Big Data”The word is not without success “Software” It has now largely departed from French, which was once so widespread “Software”. He also protested against the new wording of the Covid-19 pandemic “cluster” Or “Test”.

But mostly the arrival of new words for linguists “Not Aggressive”. “These are the French words which have been taught in England, and are coming back to us.”, he jokes. Bernard Sergiglini sees the rich cross-pollination between English and French as an example of Francophonie. Madagascar uses French like England did 800 years ago, he explains. “Administration, business, literature, everything is done in French.” Because, he continues, “For now, with Malagasy, we can't talk, do business, or do science with the world.”.

Bernard Sergiglini has high hopes for machine translation, which allows for fluid communication while preserving local languages. For a long time, he was “Mocked by Machine Translation”. “But now, it's amazing, (…) we translate well. In fact, we can understand each other, there are a thousand ways than to impoverish languages. He believes that English will persist in recent decades towards a simpler form spoken around the world. “Globish” According to his French opponents. “This globish is a bracket, a poor English. We must save British English, Charles III must act (…) because people, without learning English, will learn this beautiful language. And we are going to make our conversations worse.