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As I leaf through the pages of French magazine, I can’t help but be intrigued by the high presence of English words within a foreign publication. As noted above, there is an English translation nestled in the back, but nevertheless certain words and phrases are in English.
This is true pretty much around the world, and quite why this should be the case fascinates me deeply. I’m certainly not one to argue that English is somehow an inherently better language, quite the opposite. In fact, English is a hodge-podge of elements from different languages; Germanic, Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Romance… all have traces within the language we speak. Perhaps that’s what makes it better – the adaptability and versatility of English due to its rather dubious parenthood is why it is so widespread.
Whilst we’re talking language, here’s an interesting little morsel for you. In English the words for animals are predominantly Anglo-Saxon – short and grunty like pig or cow. Yet once they are cooked and served up on a plate they take on much more elegant, romance originating names – pork (porque), beef (beouf) and so on.
At least we don’t do what the Germans do and refer to meat as ‘fleisch’ or flesh. That would put me right off my bacon sandwich.