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28 December 2008

Alert the Académie

I'm sorry but this is not French. Maman flagged up the ad, which currently bedecks most Cannes bus stops, citing it as a reason why he shouldn't have paid 40 euros for a French freeview box as they were offering one for only 29 (though that turned out to be per month, not that we'll watch any of the French channels anyway, other than the news to pick up vocab, given that we have access to English TV and radio via Sky anyway). 

Il a free, il a tout compris. Literally, of course, it means something like, "It (or he) has free, it has everything included." However, the French don't appear to have noticed that free is an adjective (or, at least, a verb)--it is not a noun (although given the recent derivational morphological changes fail has undergone, who am I to judge?).

Cannes is full of this non-sensical Franglais rubbish. The standard policy in naming shops, cafes and restaurants seems to consist of throwing a dart into an English dictionary, picking a word and then either finding a random second word or adding some unconnected suffix to the original word. The quality purveyors of fine clothing in one of the endless trails of strip malls that line the autoroute between Nice and Cannes, for example, is called Price Leading. Or there's the internet cafe called Internitty (Interknitty? A place of cyber-knitting?). Monoprix the fab all-purpose store in town has a "carte de fidelité" scheme (loyalty rather than fidelity card, of course) where shoppers earn "S'miles," obviously borrowing from the air miles concept, combined perhaps with s'mores?

I'm sure the Académie française would not be happy about any of this, although it's only really the "il a free" that really offends my linguistic sensibilities.


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