Language-Mixing in French Print Advertising

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Tue Oct 21 21:49:23 UTC 2008

Language-Mixing in French Print Advertising
Elizabeth Martin
Elizabeth Martin is at Department of World Languages and Literatures,
California State University, 5500 University Parkway, UH-314, San
Bernardino, CA 92407, USA. E-mail: eamartin at

This article examines the use of English in French magazine
advertisements from a linguistic and legal perspective. Following an
overview of language policy planning in France, French–English mixing
in recent advertising copy is described in terms of both bilingual
creativity and strategies used to circumvent the 1994 Toubon Law
restricting the use of English in the media. This study provides
evidence that, despite this legislation, the French advertising
industry is continuing to exploit English as both a lingua franca in
international campaigns and a pair-language for mixing that has been
specifically tailored to French audiences. This 'Frenglish' mix
involves various linguistic strategies, including bilingual
hybridization, orthographic modifications, functional conversion and
'visual glossing', among others. The impact of globalization on French
advertising discourse is also explored with specific reference to
information technology and business terminology. The data presented
suggests that Paris agencies are supplying French translations for
slogans in compliance with the law while continuing, at the same time,
to insert non-translated English in various stages of assimilation in
their advertising copy. Despite the government's effort to curb the
spread and influence of English in the media, the French advertising
landscape continues to reflect consumers' ever-evolving linguistic
behaviour and global trends.

Journal of Creative Communications, Vol. 3, No. 1, 49-76 (2008)
DOI: 10.1177/097325860800300104

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