What's the French for 'dodo'?
Posted by Austin Morris on UTC 2016-03-23 07:41.
Time for the French language authorities to have the usual whinge about the pollution of their beautiful language by the Anglo-Saxons.
Professor Jean Maillet described his compatriots' increasing use of Franglais as 'reprehensible and unnecessary' because French already has a rich vocabulary of its own.
'The reason is partly due to linguistic laziness, because many English words are shorter and more user-friendly than their French counterparts.
'They don't sound nice on the ear, but we use them because they have become automatic.
'Why do French people use the word 'look' when our own language proposes: aspect, apparence, tenue, allure...'
Yes, perfessor, this 'linguistic laziness' is outrageous! How dare the French people use words that are 'shorter and more user-friendly than their French counterparts'! Words that 'don't sound nice on the ear', zut alors! Words that have become 'automatic'.
Perhaps it is because:
The Mail reporter recalls a previous whinge:
The French culture ministry launched a drive three years ago to ban the torrent of English words invading their language.
The ministry even put up a list of English words on its website ago which it said had slipped into common French usage and should be banned.
These included 'email', 'blog', 'supermodel', 'take-away' and 'low-cost airline'. Even such obscure terms as 'shadow-boxing' and 'detachable motor caravan' and 'multifunctional industrial building' were blacklisted over 65 pages of forbidden vocabulary on the website.
Senior French government adviser Herve Bourges warned at the time that the global domination of Anglo-Saxon culture had plunged the future of the French language into 'deep crisis'. A study revealed 90 per cent of French people regularly use English words and phrases when speaking
In a damning report commissioned by French ministers, he said French was being 'besieged' by the growing numbers of English speakers around the world.
Mr Bourges said: 'English speakers have a vision of the so-called English-speaking world, but an equivalent concept does not seem to exist in France.
'Despite having 200 million French speakers on earth, the idea of a French-speaking world is becoming obsolete.
'France is failing to promote its own language, and there seems to be very little interest in doing so.'
Perhaps it is because
As our reader knows, we like our ironies on this blog. It thus amuses us that one of these French colonies, Mauritius, was the home of the dodo, the which unfortunate creature the French were also unable to save. The estimated date of its final extinction coincides with the arrival of the French on the island, bringing their marmites with them.
Of course, as Voltaire showed, French was then the language of satire. Nothing has changed seemingly: the French Wikipedia tells us that the French for 'dodo' is in fact, le dronte de Maurice, although every French speaker calls it a 'dodo'. The 'correct', 'normalised' name has been defined by the Commission internationale des noms français d'oiseaux (Cinfo) – yes, there is indeed a commission for that, of course with its own acronym. (Since the titles of things usually get completely out of hand in French there always has to be an acronym.)
Even more amusingly, it turns out that dronte is not a French word at all, but a Dutch word taken from the previous inhabitants of Mauritius. Using a Dutch word, however, is clearly much better than using an Anglo-Saxon word, even though it, too, was derived from Dutch. So le dronte de Maurice it has to be.