"French is not in danger": Minister of Culture opens floodgates to loanwords

And there you have it. English adopts many different foreign words while fortifying its own language. Other languages are adopting mainly English words to their own detriment, IMHO.

Of course, languages are living things, they pick up and lose words over time, but having lived outside the US in different countries, I can easily say a lot of American words are currently entering other languages when there's a perfectly good term for most given words in the native language.

I happily admit that such an argument cannot be made quickly in a passing comment, as there are many aspects to it, but I'll (try to) leave with a single example: in colloquial Brazilian Portuguese, one would say, "Eu vou no shopping mais tarde" (I'm going to the mall later). In this case, shopping is not an "anglicismo" (this assumes there's no equivalent in Portuguese when there is: centro comercial) but rather an "estrangeirismo" (ie, a 'foreignism', a wider array of terms that include foreign words which have equivalents in the native language). Am I disgusted when I hear a Brazilian saying "shopping"? Of course not. In fact, I use it too when I'm in Brazil, but I can say I'm less than happy to hear so many such terms used by Brazilians in their day-to-day. Then again, I'm an American, so who cares if I'm not pleased about a linguistic development happening in Brazil?

To attempt to go against my argument, perhaps, I can give the example of "outdoor" (a Brazilian term for a billboard/hoarding). In 'proper' Portuguese, this would have to be, "propagandas enormes que são expostas nas ruas" (enourmous ads that are viewable on the streets). In this case, one could suggest there be a committee that comes up with an easier BR-PT term that can be used, but then we get into one of the many aspects of the larger problem I hinted at earlier, who decides? How would anyone even attempt to enforce these changes on the streets? Would any of the effort actually be worth it?

A better path, IMO, is to find ways to make Brazilians (in this case) understand that their own language is extremely rich on its own. If people appreciate that (instead of using English words 'cause it's cool'), then changes can occur in the same vein as they do with English when it adopts foreign words. The result, then, is fortification.

ok, time for my morning coffee ;)

/r/linguistics Thread Parent Link - nytimes.com