Do you Guys, think the french will speak english in a few years?

Axel   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 14:27 GMT
Hi Juan,
what I meant was unfortunately there are proud people everywhere, and we French are no more proud than anyone else... what makes me a bit angry is all that kind of old "clichés" we can hear sometimes, and of course not only about the French!
As I said earlier and as Might Mick noticed, things are changing now and there are more and more English words in French. Just check it on the internet. Of course we've got the French Academy, but it is just a "little" institution and whatever one can say, it has no or few influences nowadays... and I believe it is a real good thing!!
Paul   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 16:03 GMT
Goodness Gracious.
I feel like I stirred up an anthill.
First I am not talking about first language learning. You'd have to go to someplace like Switzerland for that to be an issue.
I was commenting on the willingness of the average Frenchman to learn English as a second language.
And I am not talking about people who learn it, not because they have to for their business, or because they need to be able to travel to the English Speaking world for their job. I am talking about the ones who learn in to enjoy the culture in the original. (Music, Movies, TV, Books)
However, the fact that the Academy Francais goes against the popular needs in their phobia against English words, suggest to me that problem may not rest entirely with the average Frenchman, but is institutionalized by the people in power.

Regards, Paul V.

P.S. I live and work in Canada, and I know perfectly well there are places where the French people, are more in favour of bilingualism, and they push themselves to learn English. I just hold that Paris, France is not such a place.
I would be curious if there are other places in France where the prejudice against the English Language, especially American English, is less pronounced.

Regards, Paul V.
Axel   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 16:31 GMT
To Paul,
I totally agree with you when you wrote "the problem may not rest entirely with the average Frenchman, but is institutionalized by the people in power". I really hope the new generation (my generation!) will change that...
I was a bit offensive in my last reply, hope you didn't take it too badly.
Might Mick   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 01:24 GMT

My observations are echoed by most people anyway. They're so obvious that it's nothing out of the ordinary really yet you don't seem to think they're credible. For that reason, je trouve que tu cherches la petite bête.

Yes there are 1000s of English words entering French. So what? They often take on different connotations in French anyway. E.g: Le baby-foot isn't an English word that means table soccer as it does in French.
Where they keep their same meanings as their English equivalents is only for very specific things that come about as novel ideas. E.g. Le chan(nel): specifically only for IRC or IRC-like programs.(quant à la télé, on dit toujours la chaîne ou le canal)
That doesn't make the French language any more English. Besides the grammar or syntax and phonetics remain intact.

French took on so many Italian words during the Renaissance, that didn't make it any less French. Just as today French takes on so many words des Beurs. Eg. toubib, kif-kif, kawa, loukoum.

Look at how much of a mongrelised language English is. Lexically, maybe 30% of it is of Germanic origin (if that). The rest is of Latin, French(old, middle, modern) and other. It's still English!
Nic   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 08:04 GMT
I never said english influences french. I said you were contradicting yourself in your different posts (reread yourself and you will notice it).

For babyfoot and canal you are right, i don't deny it. For the beur's vocabulary, these are words from another age, they are no more used today. Who uses words like toubib, kif kif ... today? Did you hear some people to speak like that?

Personnally i don't care if french still french or what else you want, i just noticed you said french was immersed of french and the post after you wrote there was more and more english words today in french. That's all i wanted to say. French will disappear like many other languages, it will be the case for many other languages. It has been the case for latin, greek (old one). My ancestors there are many centuries like yours spoke another language, mines used latin and no i use french. In the future it will be different, i don't see any problem.
Axel   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 08:12 GMT
don't you ever say "Bled", "Kif-kif" or "Toubib"? These words are still used in French whatever you can say!
Moreover I think you are wrong with Might Mick: it seems you are confusing several replies...
Might Mick   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 09:21 GMT
--"I never said english influences french. I said you were contradicting yourself in your different posts (reread yourself and you will notice it)."--
OK please explain. I don't know what you're referring to. I'm not a mind reader and I'd be guessing as to what you mean by "I never said english influences french" (?)

--"Who uses words like toubib, kif kif ... today? Did you hear some people to speak like that?"--
In the south of France, in Paris and in French cinema. Maybe just not in your circles? I don't know what region you're from but next you'll be telling me Parisians stop using verlan! :)
Whether you still say un bled, un gourbi, kif-kif, or not is besides the point. The point of that just shows you that French didn't become Arabic or whatever other language because of borrowed words.

--"i just noticed you said french was immersed of french and the post after you wrote there was more and more english words today in french."--
Yes, the predominant language is French in all facets of society in France. It has many borrowings from English but what's the problem there?

You think French will disappear... OK no problem. My only response is I don't see how in the near future (50 years?) with virtually no communities in France speaking English as a first language. You generally always fall back on your own native language instinctively with your compatriots so how would that change?

In the distant future, who knows if America (with its English language) will still be the biggest power? Maybe China? So the whole thing starts over again with Mandarin or Cantonese.
nic   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 09:23 GMT

Do you use these words : kif kif, bled, toubib? Personnally i don't. Of course i know these words but i don't hear people to use it nowaday. It looks like Celine's writing.

Maybe it's possible i have been confused between several posts from several people and not only from Might Mick. If it's the case i am sorry.
Axel   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 10:02 GMT
I guess you aren't refering to Celine Dion this time :-)
Yes I sometimes use these words... In fact it is true it sounds a bit old-fashioned, but some people still use it nowadays.
nic   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 11:24 GMT
Might Mick

Of course it will disappear, this is a question of evolution. For example, look at the Occitan who was used in South of France, North Spain and Italy. Who speak it nowadays? A very few people. I am from the south but I leave in Paris, I expressed myself badly, what I meant with words like toubib for example is, there less and less used today or it’s just me and people I use to see who does not use it any more. I use médecin, moitié moitié sometimes I use Kawa, anyway forget about it.

About English, I don’t think Chinese or any other language will replace English in 50 years or 100 years. Using English is not only from today, it’s a question of evolution since a few centuries. If you look at the beginning and compare French and English colonization, english’s place has been more important all over the world and has grown up and grown up. Who ignores English today? About Chinese, who speak Chinese apart chineses and a few people who loves the language. How do you want Chinese replace English.
Is it because USSR was verty important east germans, polish or whatever you want have chosen to speak Russian? No they speak English.


Do you use all?
Might Mick   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 12:30 GMT
I know you believe it will disappear, you've made that clear again.
I just didn't find any good reasons in your arguments and you didn't counter any of mine. As for your reasoning: Evolution? Occitan didn't have the numbers - 100,000 speakers are needed to keep a language alive from one generation to the next. As for French, France has a population of 60 million. But more importantly, Occitan was only really passed on by word of mouth as a language spoken at home so its use was never diverse anyway. There is/was very little Occitanie literature and it was never institutionalised E.g. education system like schools, in commerce, the media, etc.

Why did I mention China and Chinese? Because with 1 to 2 billion inhabitants and its opening up to capitalism, it looks like it'll be the next economic powerhouse, so outsiders will need the language for dealings there.
nic   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 13:48 GMT

Might Mick,

Occitan was not a good example, but I think more of 100000 people spoke it in the past. You are right when you say there was a small literature. So let see the latin example. How many speakers used it in Antiquity? There was a literature, or let see the greeks. It has disappeared nowadays. Who speak latin, greek (old 1 of course)?
When I speak about evolution it’s because I think nothing is immortal, because of influences things die and some others appear, it’s a very slow evolution. Even English will disappear in a very very long time and of course some other languages will appear influenced by English and other languages.
Paul   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 14:32 GMT
To Axel

It seems that most governments think that it is in their best interest to limit our access to outside culture and foreign news.

We certainly don't have to go along with their wish to keep us isolated and nationalistically oriented.

Learning another language is like getting a free window into another world. A door into Summer.

Does a "petite bete" means a glitch or bug. A known problem that you usually have to accomodate and learn to live with?

And what about
kif kif, bled, toubib?

What do they mean?

Regards, Paul

P.S. My personal opinion is that French will be around for a long time to come. One reason is that because the French Language translation programs are getting so good on the Internet, a unilingual French speaker is not totally at a disadvantage.

Still a siege mentality, does not keep a language alive and growing.

Regards, Paul V.
Axel   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 15:18 GMT
To Paul,

how couldn't we agree on that point? Hopefully internet makes the thing easier for us...
"Kif kif" means "fifty-fifty", "bled" is "village" and "toubib" means "doctor". I am not sure at 100% but I think those words come from Kabyle.
"petite bête" first means "insect", but there is an expression where it means something else: "chercher la petite bête"="to be over critical".
Might Mick   Friday, June 11, 2004, 01:18 GMT
I hope people don't start writing in all different languages other than English (just a few words here and there) else the forum will become a mess. Oops!

I use bled and gourbi only in the slang sense to mean a dump or a slummy place. They're rarely used in a literal sense in everyday speech. kif-kif like "c'est kif-kif bourricot" would mean "same thing" in English.

I don't know why it happened to Latin so I can't really say. But I understand it had some traits in common with Occitan E.g. limited modes of usage - like among elites and aristocrats. However it wasn't all lost to the elites and aristocrats because the commoners perpetuated their vernacular versions of Latin, i.e. Italian, Spanish, French. They gradually evolved into their modern forms as did other modern languages.