06 June 2011

New French Words for 2012

The press today, along with several blogs and websites, offered a sneak peak at the most recent evolution of the French language by announcing a few of the newest words to appear in the 2012 edition of the French dictionary, Le Robert.

The three most oft-cited words which seem to be causing a big stir this year are:

  • tweet (as in "I loved you photo - I just tweeted it!")
  • cougar (think Courtney Cox) and
  • vuvuzela (the horn-like instrument that caused a media sensation during the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa) 

It's a bold move for a language which historically has been deliberately and, at times, fiercely protected from foreign influence. But more and more it seems, the prevalence of the English language and technology has become too far-reaching to ignore.

A few other noteworthy words that made this year's cut are:

  • E-Learning 
  • matcha (green tea) and
  • cagole, referring to a vulgar and provocative woman. Just in case you were wondering, this is not the first time such a word has made it into the dictionary.

Nearly 1,500 new words are making their début in the 2012 edition which goes on sale tomorrow. The words are chosen according to how often they are used in the media and literary works.

If that's the case, it's only a matter of time before DSK is inducted into the French language, the meaning of which, in all fairness, has yet to be resolved.

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