Philobiblon: Franglais

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Well today I learnt a new French word, that for blog. It is "blog". I think the academie is fighting a losing battle. That from an article in Le Monde about music blogs, Avec les blogs, les mélomanes tissent leur toile . The headline seems a bit harsh, and a bit odd, "weaving their canvases", but maybe that's just the cyber vernacular in France.

Yes there are lots of links in there, many in English if it matters, but I haven't followed them up: music just sounds like noise to me. Yes, I know I'm a philistine.

I've noticed other intrusions, particularly the unlovely "fixeur", an English noun with a French ending, referring to a journalist's all-around helper, "c'est a dire 'arranger'". (No I'm not game to put French quote marks in there, since they are like HTML brackets and can't imagine what Blogger would make of that.)

There was also a big piece in Sunday's Le Monde about how MSN Messenger is sweeping France, "entirely changing social life". Well looking at the Rue de Abbesses tonight it certainly doesn't seem like it.

But what I really want to know is: why do you have to use the shift key to get a full stop ...... not to mention the question of why Q is in the easiest spot on the keyboard to hit, the location of the English keyboard A?


Blogger Sharon said...

Possibly for the same reasons that you get the arrangement you do (or so I've been told) on an English keyboard: it goes back to manual typewriters and, based on the most common combinations of letters in English words, needing to arrange the keys in such a way as to try to avoid the wotsits (you know, the arm-like things with the letters on the end) getting tangled up if you had very fast trained typists. And the reason that's not been changed since the virtual demise of manual typewriters is because even now the world is full of trained typists (like me - no looking at the keyboard allowed!), and books and teachers teaching more of them how to do it the same way, and offices everywhere would grind to a halt if they had to stop and retrain all their secretaries. Not quite as difficult (or lethal) as changing what side of the road cars are driven on, but the same kind of thing. (BTW, if you're a touch-typist, the A - or Q, en francois - isn't really the easiest key since you have to hit it with your little finger. The easiest are F and J because they're your central orientation keys and they have little raised wedges or dots on them so you can find them easily without looking. There you go, useless fact of the day.)

1/12/2005 11:31:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Well I am a touch typist but a slightly unconveniental one, since I'd been non-touch typing for several years before I learnt the official method. So I use my fourth finger also for the outside keys, and I find the A on the English keyboard very easy.

I still think A on the top right corner is odd because it is possible it is less common in English than French - anyone know a source of such statistics? - but it is certainly more common than A!

Anyway, back being able to type at full speed is a great relief - and I'm about to go back and fix all the typos in the French posts.

1/14/2005 12:18:00 pm  

Post a comment

<< Home