March 3, 2024


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Why are we allowed to use “elevated” English in a title?

Why are we allowed to use “elevated” English in a title?

Sylvain, a reader, criticizes us for using “elevated” English in a title when French offers many equivalents. Borrowing from the English language is rare in our columns and conditioned by usage.

“Retail sales boosted by events”, we published the headline at the top of the Sense – Living Your City page on January 12, 2024. To this encouragement from our title, Sylvain responded with a well-felt blow. “Your use of English words instead of French irritates me the most,” he wrote to us. “Are your teachers too lazy to look up the right word? For example: strengthen, increase, enhance, accelerate, support, etc.”

A term adopted by many dictionaries

Dear Sylvain, You will have noticed that there is a practical reason, a thousand miles away from any linguistic consideration, for the use of the word “raised” in this title. The French equivalents you quoted don't work. We would have written “dope”, but this is another anglicism (though perhaps of distant African origin…), with a more negative connotation. We should still feel sufficiently accredited to write this “elevated” purely British publication. The usage established by several dictionaries of the French language (but certainly not by the French Academy as this word raises eyebrows), allowed us to do so.

At Auxerre, the red oak tree

No objection to “Internet” or “Budget”.

Assure Sylvain: We are not English fanatics. On the subject that irritates him, we count three of the 598 words: Raised, but Internet and Budget. Internet, which has no equivalent in French, no longer offends anyone, rather than budget, an English word derived from the Old French pouget. This is the paradox. The English language, whose supremacy is much feared, is much richer in Gallicism (borrowing from French) in English than in French. According to sources, they represent 40% to 70% of his current words!

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When a boat calls “Mayday,” true Englishism is not what we think of

William the Conqueror's mistake by setting foot on English soil in 1066 spread his Norman language, which later gave birth to Old French. Since then, England has not lost its pleasure in drawing up the dictionary used on this side of the Channel. At times, the words she draws from it enchant us. Interview, tennis, coach, war, manager, pedigree? All English languages ​​are derived from Gallicism. Among many others. Build phonetically after “help me” until “mayday” begins from ships in distress. Of course, and until proven otherwise, Booster is pure English. We have our nice old boat from Old English Bat (boat given). Languages ​​go like this.

Here are the editorial duties of our editorial teams on climate

Vincent Robinette
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