Friday, July 06, 2007

États-unien and the French mavenhood

I always read Paul Krugman on Friday mornings, and today's "Sacrifice is for suckers" was a pretty depressing start to the day. Fortunately, there's an engaging language piece on the same page, this. It's an essay on how américain is used in French, along with états-unien, which comes originally from Quebec (I learned), and which is now being used in France. In fact, the NYT piece is a translation (and reworking) of a piece from the language blog of le Monde (original here). The use of états-unien provoked a negative response from some of their readers — hey, you knew France had its prescriptivists.

And I have to note in passing that this week's Word Court was basically "Just face it, world, we're called 'Americans'" — le Monde comes to a similar conclusion without having quite so much of that whole ill-informed-American-preaching-to-the-world thing going on. (Couldn't bring myself to blog about it, or even talk to the Missus about it.)

The language blog itself is notable … worth reading, though not worth learning French for (see graphic below). Of course there's also lots of stuff like this:
Lu récemment : “… ce qui tente à prouver…”. Ô saint Pierre (Larousse) et saint Paul (Robert), délivrez-nous de la tentation et tendez-nous un d bien tendre qui n’aurait pas le goût du t !
That gripe seems somehow cleverer and less bitchy than the stuff we normally get from American mavens … or maybe just because it's in French?

I can't figure out, though, why in the world they set the whole blog in boldface — at least in the two browsers I've checked it out in.

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