Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Why 'beach' is a dirty word in France

beachhero.jpg

Fans of hit French zombie drama The Returned may titter over the characters' pronunciation of its eerie Alpine town's "Lake Poob" but in France, English language infiltration is no laughing matter.

It's the job of French Ministry of Culture employees to come up with expressions catchy enough to fight off invading Anglicisms such as "weekend" and "cool" (Maria Miller wishes such a pressing task featured on her to-do list).

Culture staff told The Local newspaper which popular British terms they would like blackballed, along with their proposed French replacements.

BINGE DRINKING

In France, "la maladie anglaise", or "the English disease", was once a nickname mockingly reserved for syphilis (thanks France). Now, it commonly refers to the country's increasing levels of binge drinking.

But copying Britain's excess alcohol consumption is not worrying Gallic powers-that-be so much as the adoption of our inelegant moniker for the problem.

In a bid to prevent "binge-drinking" mixing into their language like 7-Up in a glass of Blue Label Johnnie Walker, Ministry of Culture staff have come up with the infinitely more chic "beuverie express" as a suggested alternative.



STREET

We've all gotten annoyed by Brits using Americanisms. Oftentimes they don't even realize they're doing it.

It's the same with the French, they spent centuries rolling "rue" off their tongues and now homegrown philistines think its acceptable to say "streets" instead. Imagine if a Brit spoke of "sidewalks" and "blocks" in the UK with a straight face.

The Ministry of Culture has noted with concern the use of "street basketball", "street football" etc. and suggested these activities should be redefined as "basketball de rue" and "football de rue", and so on.



BEACH

France has a similar problem with "beach". As home to some of the world's best "plages", keeping them in a separate language bracket to Brighton and Blackpool's offerings is understandable, but these clear, coastal waters are being muddied by sports fans.

"Beach volleyball", "Beach football" and even "Beach cricket" are some of the expressions provoking the country's language arbiters.

The Ministry of Culture has asked, nicely, that "beach" be translated to "sur sable" in this context, in the hope that the melodic "cricket sur sable" and "volley sur sable" will replace clunky-sounding imposters.



DROP-OUTS

Historically, they're famous for their revolutionary tendencies, but French students are currently attracting attention for high "drop-out" rates.

You'd think France might want to let this one slide, but no, they are keen for the nation to use its own linguistic gem for premature school leavers.

"Décrochage", roughly translated as "stall" is the Ministry of Culture's preferred choice.

Actually, "High school décrochage" sounds like a bit of a CV winner.



E-BOOK

E-books are divisive. Like Stephen King, Stylist columnist Lucy Mangan is an outspoken fan of the traditional book, while the likes of E.L. James and Hugh Howey (Wool), probably give their Kindles a grateful kiss every night.

For the Ministry of Culture, it's not the digitalisation of Sartre or Flaubert that irks, nor the inevitable decimation of paper-based reading materials. It's that word: "e-book".

Instead of letting it continue to interrupt the flow of a highbrow intellectual French language tête-à-têtes, readers are kindly asked to switch to "liseuse".

Images: Rex Features

Related

main-hero.jpg

Hand luggage holidays

heronude.jpg

Where to get naked

gymherov.jpg

Britain’s most beautiful gyms

Comments

More

Last-minute hotels and cottages to book for the bank holiday weekend

Get out of town. by Moya Crockett

26 Aug 2016

Fix your equilibrium at a Swiss medi-spa

Could a holiday at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz cure your insomnia? by Kitty McGee

23 Aug 2016

Fancy a free flight to Iceland? Here's how to get your tickets

Here's how to get your hands on tickets by Sarah Biddlecombe

23 Aug 2016

The Instagram star taking selfies to terrifying new heights

If you thought that all possible selfie angles had been covered, you thought wrong. by Anya Meyerowitz

22 Aug 2016

Speed up your holiday prep with these time-savvy apps and services

From booking right through to last-minute panics, we've got your holiday hacks covered by Amy Swales

18 Aug 2016

Night Tube is finally coming: everything you need to know

It opens this weekend - time to get ready by Harriet Hall

15 Aug 2016

From Sarajevo to Rome, free walking tours in European cities

Guided strolls in beautiful spots that won't cost you a penny by Amy Swales

12 Aug 2016

Six great websites for securing those last-minute holiday bargains

From luxury retreats to staycation adventures by Anna Melville-James

11 Aug 2016

Flight attendant adopts dog who waited outside hotel for six months

It was love at first sight by Sarah Biddlecombe

10 Aug 2016

15 of the best outdoor screens to watch the Olympics in the UK

Big screens from Belfast to Bradford by Moya Crockett

09 Aug 2016