And English gets the gold!

Damien Hall D.Hall at KENT.AC.UK
Thu Aug 9 12:47:15 UTC 2012

Wilson observed:

'A headline in a French-Basque newspaper:

" 'Ma Tribu,' une nouvelle marque d'autocollants _made_ en Pays Basque"

But why didn't they replace _autocollants_ with "stickers"?


Well, 'made in' ('in' is usually in English as well) has become a stock code-switch in French young people's / trendy press writing, to connote authenticity or the fact that the products in question are actually pointing up where they were made - from the indications of origin that are purposely stamped or printed on many products, presumably.

More generally, I'm afraid English got the gold a while ago in the relevant kind of press.  In France last week, I purposely took a picture of the cover of the then-latest French edition of _Elle_, which has the following strapline:

Nos must have fashion à gagner!

As usual, there is, of course, no typographical or other device to distinguish the code-switched words from the French ones.

An even more striking example is on a postcard that I bought in Brittany for, again, exactly that reason.  It shows a cartoon surfer, with the legend

Breizh fun attitude!

That is, a postcard in Breton and English only (_Breizh_ = 'Brittany'), sold in France to the French.  Again, 'fun attitude' is a stock code-switch that can be found all over the 'French' internet, though it's one of those interesting ones that doesn't actually really exist in the source language ('He has a fun attitude' meaning 'He's always game for a laugh' or something, which is what I think it does mean, strikes me as clumsy).  Again, French has had form for this, for decades: cf _parking_ (noun) 'parking lot', _brushing_ (noun) 'blow-dry', etc.

</lecture> #sorry!


The American Dialect Society -

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