The vilipending of embrangle – words in danger of being lost forever

September 23, 2008


New words are constantly added to the dictionary, while others fall out of favour and disappear

Have you ever experienced calignosity? Have you ever heard someone say something that was absolutely fatidical? Did you ever wish a malison upon someone? Or are you wondering what the heck I’m talking about?

Collins Dictionary is getting ready to chop some words from the English language. Here’s a quick list:

Astergent – cleansing or scouring
Agrestic – rural, rustic, unpolished, uncouth
Apodeictic – unquestionably true by virtue of demonstration
Caducity – perishableness, senility
Calignosity – dimness, darkness
Compossible – possible in coexistence with something else
Exuviate – to shed (a skin or similar outer covering)
Fatidical – prophetic
Griseous -streaked or mixed with grey
Malison – a curse
Manseutude -gentleness or kindness
Muliebrity – the condition of being a woman
Niddering – cowardly
Nitid -bright, glistening
Olid – foul-smelling
Periapt – combative, antagonistic or contrary
Recrement – waste matter, refuse dross
Roborant – tending to fortify or increase strength
Vaticinate – to foretell, prophesy

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Have the French Finally Accepted “Franglais”?

September 16, 2008

The resistance to Anglicization of the language has been a strong one until recently

It was only last week that we reported how Italians are calling for resistance to the anglicization of their language. The Italian drive is spearheaded by the Dante Alighieri Society which is calling for protection of the Italian language in opposition to “Anglitaliano”, the hybrid mix of Italian and English. The Dante Alighieri Society was has been influenced by French efforts to roll back the creeping anglicization of their language through the Académie française which has a long track record of trying to keep the French language as free of English influence as possible.

However, The Economist is reporting that the English language and Franglais in particular are experiencing a resurgence in France:

Despite rules requiring advertising slogans in English to be sub-titled, French manufacturers brazenly borrow English words to confect brands in franglais. L’Oréal, a cosmetics group, promotes “Age Re-Perfect Pro-Calcium Nuit” and “Revitalift Double Lifting Yeux”. France’s fashion press is another cross-dresser, writing of “Vive la fashion attitude” or “Le Hit des It Bags”. In a post-modern twist, teenagers are importing American slang via the heavily north African banlieues, where hip-hop flourishes and street dress is styled on the Bronx.

The sheer power of American and British popular culture was the initial force behind the anglicization of French. It continues to be so, but with globalisation the financial incentive of knowing English also comes into play. Lastly, the rush in Italy to defend the language and the rising French acceptance of English reflect political trends in both countries. France’s Nicolas Sarkozy has ended the long run of French ambivalence towards the United States while Silvio Berlusconi of Italy has changed course from a pro-American position towards a more nationalist direction.

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