June 18, 2024


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A new way of creating English

A new way of creating English

Recently I found something surprising. This is a new way of conjugating English verbs into French sentences. Like “we’re not giving up” or “I’m going to share my screen”. This phenomenon is present in every young lips.

What’s new here is that we’ve moved away from the old convention of “conjugating” the verb in French and stuck to the ending (in -er) of the first group we conjugated: “I toast, I will toast, then toast me, etc.” »

Now, innovation consists of taking the verb, ” to cool down (rest)”, to make “I’m going to cool down, I’ve cooled down” rather than “I’m going to cool down, I’ve cooled down”. This phenomenon is called non-verb conjugation.

I didn’t think much of these revelations until I listened to the first episode of the podcast So keep calm. Its host is singer-songwriter Jerome 50, whose real name is Jerome Charette-Pepin. Although he is most famous for songs like Hierarchy And DogebagisiteJérôme 50 is currently doing his Masters in Linguistics with a non-integrated specialization at Laval University.

One thing led to another, and I met another researcher interested in the same subject, Marie-Eve Bouchard, a sociologist and linguistic anthropologist at the University of British Columbia. In May 2023, he published A study Titled “I am going to share with you my research on Anglicism! » Very valuable Journal of French Language Studies Cambridge, which also awarded him the Essay Prize of the year.

Jérôme 50 and Marie-Eve Bouchard consider this phenomenon from two different perspectives. The first examines morphology: how uncoordinated works and why it takes the form it does. Marie-Eve Bouchard, as a good sociologist, focused on analyzing who practices the subject and how it is perceived.

Under the hood

Jerome 50 backs up his point with examples taken from Quebec rap, the oldest of which dates back to 1996: rapper Casey LMNOP says Ta Yul (Live Your Life and Stay Alive) “The ones who flashed with the bang bang, the ones who hung down. » In short, this “innovation” will soon celebrate its 30th anniversary.

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His study aims to show that process is the opposite of anything and that it obeys a system. “It is wrong to say that young people will not marry anymore. They converge, but differently,” says the PhD student. What he observes is that the sign of conjunction changes towards the subjunctive, for example, “I’m going to chill, I’ve chilled, I want to chill”, where “pona, want, want” has the function of the sign. Tense of the verb.

This way of doing things is not alien to the French. In another paragraph, I explained the bad spelling of the simple past (I loved you) replaced by the compound past tense (I loved you). Even the good old simple future (I will walk) loses the race against the periphrastic future (I will walk).

Obviously, this kind of change creates some problems. If we don’t conjugate the verb in French, conveying some of the nuances of the past becomes problematic: If we can “chillit,” how do we say “chillet”? “I got cold” doesn’t mean “I got cold” or “I got cold”.

Even more interesting, in my opinion, is that this phenomenon is no longer limited to the British. In another column, I’ll talk about the influence of Creole and Arabic, verbs that young Montrealers suffer the same fate when used—as do some verbs in French (such as “he reprimands me”. Anger by rapper LKS).

Another thing that strikes me is the lack of examples of “we” and “you”. Because, Marie-Eve Bouchard explained to me, no one says “we walk,” but rather “we walk.” “‘We’ here has acquired a formal meaning which is not present in the recorded colloquialism in question. » This difference in register between sustained and colloquial is an important key to understanding a phenomenon concerning the oral language of some Quebecers.

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Get high

For her study, Marie-Eve Bouchard based a questionnaire on more than 675 respondents between the ages of 14 and 76, including mostly young adults, with an average age of 26. Respondents were asked to read about fifteen sentences containing an unconjugated verb and rate each one on a scale of 1 to 5. As the participants provided information on their education level, their mother tongue, their proficiency in English, their place of birth and where they live, she was able to conduct a detailed sociolinguistic analysis.

“I was amazed at the scale of the phenomenon [des verbes anglais qui ne sont pas conjugués] Montreal is. Whether respondents grew up or live in Montreal, feedback was positive. In Quebec, the reaction is negative, even though English proficiency is about equal. Sherbrooke is between the two: it’s less common, but it looks less exotic. »

Another nuance is that participants with a university degree have a significantly less positive judgment. Of course, if the respondents know English, their judgment will be positive, but with a caveat: native English speakers reject this type of spoken English. (In my opinion, the lack of verb conjugation also affects the English language. Saying “j’ai toast” instead of “j’ai toasted” also calls English into question.) Marie-Eve Bouchard’s questionnaire ended with this. An open-ended question invites respondents to comment. He has received many opinions on English languages ​​and will soon publish a 44-page paper on this issue. However, two things emerge from this, she explains. First, the respondents generally welcomed the British very favorably. But they all rated non-coordination very negatively, even those who considered it normal.

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“One of the respondents even wrote: “It looks like Siac,” he notes. This is very interesting, because in Moncton and southern New Brunswick, where Siac is practiced, the phenomenon of disintegration is completely absent. It only happens in Montreal – and in Louisiana. »

As Prime Minister François Legault puts it, there is only one step that Marie-Eve Bouchard or Jerome 50 did not take to talk about the French “Louisianization” of Quebec from there.

First of all because we are informal and generational here. “One of my 28-year-old respondents said he felt very old when reading my examples. We are still far from overflowing, which is a characteristic of young people that can affect the norm, but not necessarily,” said the research partially launched in 2020. He prepares grant applications Explore the topic further.

Jerome 50 sees something else there: “A certain desire to be true to English, but to be frugal. » This phenomenon can be seen in all languages: generations eliminate characters that are considered redundant or useless. “We are facing a new oral system for youth. I also see it as a reaction to French standards that are harsh or far from reality. Young people are not very interested in using standard French symbols. »