I’ve just come across another blog post I wrote while living in France, illustrating that however hard it tries, the Académie Française can’t stop the inexorable march of English words into the French language. Which are your favourites?
February 4th 2010
There we all were, at Laroque Chorale last week, singing away, when our Director begged us to sing with ‘plus de feeling’. I tried not to laugh, then realised everyone else was taking her words to heart, and agreeing a bit more ‘feeling’ wouldn’t come amiss.
It sometimes feels as if there really is no need to learn French – so many English words are an everyday part of life here now.
So let’s just imagine……what if, instead of being a retired Englishwoman of a certain age, I were instead a thrusting young 30-something French business woman? What if, instead of being curled up with a gardening magazine, I preferred something more like ‘OK’, with stories of some C list celeb. – ‘un people’? Perhaps my life might be more like this……
‘I always struggle to get up in the morning from the comfort of my kingsize. But it has to be done. I dress quickly, pulling on my teeshirt, my shorts, and my pull, to take the 5 dogs out. Didn’t you know I like dogs? I’ve got a fox terrier, a labrador, a pointer, a setter, a york shire (sic) and a border colley (sic), all pedigree, of course. We go jogging every day, with me plugged into my walkman. At the week-end, when we have more time, I do a bit of cross country.
After a shower, there’s only time for a quick bite: toast, corn flakes, something like that. Just occasionally, for a treat, I’ll have a cooked breakfast, like the English do.
Then I have to get to work. I’m a businesswoman, specialising in marketing, and first thing every morning, I have a briefing with the boss. We’re not doing so well in the recession, and we’re no longer a blue chip company.
I’ve got a very short deadline for an interesting new deal, but we’ve got awful IT problems. E-mail, the internet, we can’t log in or download properly- you name it. IT support’s always here trying to debug things.
We’ve just done a publicity drive via a mailing, but the feedback was awful, and my manager’s not pleased. She’s the one stuck with the cash-flow problems. We all had a meeting, a real brainstorming session, and we’re working on a new business plan with a view to downsizing. I find it hard to offer leadership: I’ve no killer instinct. Frankly, I think I’m a bit of a has-been…..
Towards 12.00, I really need to relax. So off to the gym for a spot of fitness training: stretching, and a bit of a work-out with a punching ball.
I’m starving after that. I ring my manager to ask her to join me at a snack bar, but she’s a snob, and won’t come. But I love fast food! Hamburgers, hot dogs, nuggets – even a sandwich – bring them on! And after that, an ice cream or a banana split, all washed down with a milk-shake. No diet for me!
I hardly have time to get to the shopping centre. But I prefer self service and luckily the shops here don’t shut at lunchtime – they do non-stop shopping. Sometimes I go to the hard discount stores too, like Aldi, but not today.
Back to work for more of the same, then home for a well-earned break. A cup of tea, some cake, and half an hour with my book, the new science fiction, a best seller.
Then my mobile rings. It’s Marianne! She’s got tickets for the new one man show this evening: she must have been making eyes at the man in the box office. Me, I’d prefer a film, a thriller, or something with a happy end. Or even a night club with a spot of dancing…… Still, a night out’s a night out.
Marianne’ll be looking gorgeous as usual, with her look designer. I get out my vanity case, and put my make-up on, the blush, the eye liner, the lipstick. What to wear with my blue-jean? And I’m not even clean yet. Too much to think about! I can’t stay here to chat to you any longer. Bye-bye.’