You Think You Can’t Speak French..??

     “Few days ago, I went to a cafe, with a highly soigné kind of decor. The atmosphere was filled with a strange mixture of feminine flowery eau de toilette and expensive cigar! Young demoiselles a la mode, with their haute couture little robe noir, and tres chic little purses! Joie de vivre and savoir faire… Voila!! ”

23 words out the 56 making the above paragraph, are French! And you perfectly understood what I meant! A coincidence? Certainly not! It is estimated that 70% of the words used in the English language are the same or very similar to the French equivalent words!! Surprised? I was too, when I started learning English! As a French speaker -or should I say Francophone?- I always wondered why would a rich and complex language such as English, need to “borrow” words from another foreign one! And why French? Why not Italian, Spanish or any other Latin language? And does using French words somehow makes you more sophisticated and elegant? Thus the need to show off and humbly brag about your skills? Dear reader, if you think you will find an answer to the above questions, let me apologies to you in advance, because I have none! No matter how many times I checked with “Monsieur” Google, I still can’t figure out why! Why do we use French words in English?! 

I do tolerate words like : Chauffeur, valet or even ballet, however, I am certain words such as Chef-d’oeuvre or fin de siècle, can be traded for something more…English! I also understand such things happening in the 18th century, when rich French aristocrats were finding refuge in London; but now in the 21st century, it does seem a little absurd to me. 

I am very intrigued to know what grammarians think of this matter. Is it the lack of words? Or the urge to be better, and more “Chic”? Or is it simply a habit?    

What do you think….?


One Crazy Language!! 

Few days ago, I had to write a post about English as part of my online studies. It got me a full mark and few sweet compliments too 😉 so I decided to share it with you! Why not?! Hope you enjoy it 🙂 

Arabic was the first language I ever learnt. We speak it at home, we learn the rules and guidelines in school. By the age of ten, I mastered this rich and complex language. 

Learning Arabic, was a slow and steady process. A set of rules that you should learn by heart, and use them dutifully. The alphabet is 28 letters, which are all used just the way they are pronounced. You will never find a letter that will ever be pronounced differently under any circumstances! It is a language that distinguish between male and female, in pretty much everything. A language that doesn’t have any weird features that have made their way into it with time! As any other language, verbs are allowed to be moody too, however, they can only choose among three tenses: past, present, and future! 

Fast forward: At the age of twelve, I dived into the language of Shakespeare, and almost immediately, the craziness of this language, started making its appearance! 

In “enouGH”, the “GH” is pronounced “F”, as if this same letter has done something terrible in the past and has been banned from fulfilling its duties! Or when we say: “thouGH” and we happily ignore the same syllable “GH”. Was there a minimum amount of letters in this word that couldn’t be reached, so someone decided to use extra letters? 

Is there any eggs in eggplant? Or ham in hamburger? Or is there any apples or pines in pineapple? I wonder if there was a quota that had to be matched when creating these words? 

If the plural of tooth is teeth, then why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? And we have one goose and two geese then why it is not one moose and two meese? (Do I have to mention that my autocorrect is going crazy right now!!!!). 

Why do writers write, yet fingers can’t finge? And if a teacher taught, why didn’t a preacher praught? 

Should we even talk about how moody are the verbs? You would think they are humans! Why do I need a tense to be wishful? And express a hypotheses? 

Regardless of how crazy English is, it is and without a doubt, my absolute favorite! A language that always keeps me on my toes, always sending me to dictionaries, to make sure I used the right plural, tense, adverb, adjective…..etc. So cheers to a crazy yet very beautiful language!