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
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.
September 10, 2008
Wadda you mean ‘il weekend’? Basta! It’s fine settimana!
The pervasiveness of the English language in our world today can be attributed to many factors, history, economy, and culture foremost amongst them. Counting close to two billion speakers, it’s easy to say that English is a global language and in many parts of the world is the lingua franca even if it’s not native language.
English shapes and forms the new trends in other languages thanks to this massive presence. One need only think of the English term “football” (soccer in North America) to see how the language has influenced other languages. The Spanish refer to the game as “futbol” and Serbs simply spell it “fudbal”. English loan words then undergo a process of adaptation to best suit the native language.
The French refer to the mixing of English and French as “Franglais” which quite often is seen as a degeneration of the native tongue. So much so is Franglais seen as a threat that the French government finances the Académie française to ensure the French nature of the French language.
As French culture has come under increasing pressure with the widespread availability of English media, the Académie has tried to prevent the anglicisation of the French language. For example, the Académie has recommended, with mixed success, that some loanwords from English (such as walkman, software and email) be avoided, in favour of words derived from French (baladeur, logiciel, and courriel respectively). Moreover, the Académie has worked to modernise French orthography.
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