May 26, 2024

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“No English language.”  A perspective makes you believe how delicious it is

“No English language.” A perspective makes you believe how delicious it is

There is no English language, it's just badly pronounced French, Bernard Sergiglini tells us in a short essay that's very funny.


The study of languages, their origin, their similarities, differences, hybrids has always been an important branch of science. A green branch.
Without going back to the Tower of Babel, to stick with the scholars of our time, the pioneers of ethnolinguistics in the 60s, such as Ferdinand de Saussure, Émile Benveniste or Jean Seguy, gave him his aristocratic letters.

Bernard Cerglini is in this lineage. An academic, he taught in Paris, Brussels and Baton Rouge (Louisiana) before occupying high positions, including director of the National Institute of the French Language (CNRS). The author of approximately fifteen works, he published most notably with Eric Orsenna. Immigrants words (share). His latest work“No English Language”, it's badly pronounced French, The quote contains the title – hence the quotation marks. It is borrowed from Clemenceau by Alexandre Dumas, who puts it in the mouth of his hero d'Artagnan. A more humorless Clemenceau added: “England was a French colony gone bad “. A different path to an unusual topic. Because here we are dealing with a very serious essay, the fruit of impeccable scholarship. Because Bernard Sergigliini presents an important distinction: he is a member of L'Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle (OulipO). It was founded in 1960 by the novelist, poet and essayist Raymond Developed by Queno and mathematician François Le Lyonnais.

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A brief overview

Oulipo set out to explore all the possibilities of the language. It is a sort of pseudopod of the College of Padaphysics, which counts among its notables, besides Queno, writers such as Boris Vian and Georges Perek.
Alfred Jarry and his hero Dr. Badaphysics, dear to Fastrol, reveals the identity of opposites. It is true that it is sometimes difficult, if not impossible, to draw a clear line of demarcation between literature and science or dream and reality. Written by Blue flowers (1965), a novel that illustrates this apparent paradox, but Number and letter sticks and D'Styling exercisesQueneau is the epitome of the curious researcher of our language, studying all aspects of phonetics, semantics, linguistics, etc.

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This is also the point of general semantics, developed in the early 20th century by the American linguist Alfred Gorczybski, according to which the meaning of words and sentences is not fixed but varies according to context. So it is always appropriate to remember ” A map is not a territory “. One of the theories of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) developed in the US in the 1970s by John Grinder and Richard Bandler.

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For his part, Rene Etymble had great success with him do you speak frenchA strong condemnation of the invasion and “colonialism” of our language has been replaced by English in many areas.

Beef and Mutton

Back on topic. If it is clear that Bernard Cerchiglini is following in the footsteps of René Étympal, it is clear that the controversy between English and French, a reflection of the struggle for supremacy in all areas, is nothing new. It dates back to 1066 and William the Conqueror's victory at Hastings. The French imported their language with them into the conquered territories, and it spread, but only among the ruling class. This is how beef is called Ox Changed by farmers who plowed the fields Beef, rare or well-cooked, on aristocratic plates. Same rule for the shipchanged to Mutton, and many other words testify to the influence of French on English vocabulary. Needless to say, the gastronomy sector is not the only one had an impactAs we say today when we are Until today. The author explores several fields that confirm Clemenceau's queerness. Industry, commerce, law, administration and diplomacy were under the influence of French, the dominant language until the eighteenth century.
Essayist's observation about English: A third of the vocabulary is of French origin; Adding words derived from the Latin language crosses the 50% mark “.

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A fascinating journey

This is a measurable observation. We must also add the taste of the French, its beauty and sophistication. Starting from there, Bernard Sergiglini takes his reader on a journey through time and space, accurately analyzing all the historical, political, social, economic and cultural circumstances that have changed the situation over the centuries. To the extent that we see our language invaded and overwhelmed by a lexicon that doesn't deserve it. Thus the warning initiated at that time by Etiemble is confirmed.
The peculiarity of the provocative title of this article, according to Olibo, makes it incomparable, first of all, the degree of erudition of its author. An erudition demonstrated by the bibliography cited at the end of the book and an impressive index of annotated words. However, nothing too heavy. Conversely, a lightness is often accompanied by humor.

Bernard Cerclini “No English language.” This is badly pronounced French. Callimard, Folio Articles n° 704, 196 pages.

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