06 Dec 2008
I was writing some copy the other day when I realised the exact phrase I was looking for was je ne sais quoi. This got me thinking about how many words and phrases we use that come from across the Channel.
Did you know that about 30% of the English language is derived from French? Mais non? Words like niche, blonde, souvenir, genre and chic are all French in origin. And there are beaucoup French words that are in everyday use.
Like à la carte, hors d’oeuvre, bon voyage and après-ski. Or the rather delicious avant-garde, risqué, soirée, film noir and rendez-vous. Or the optimistic joie de vivre, c’est la vie and fait accompli. Or the luscious de rigueur and haute couture. And don’t forget faux pas, double entendre, laissez faire and carte blanche.
And what have we given in return? Le TV. Le weekend. Le football. Les hooligans. Mon Dieu.