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FRENCH LANGUAGE

The new French words added to the dictionary

The latest edition of France's Larousse dictionary set to be published this June, and it has announced it will add 150 new words.

The new French words added to the dictionary
A woman holds the 2015 copy of the French Larousse dictionary (Photo by FRED DUFOUR / AFP)

Each year, France’s Larousse dictionary holds up a mirror to society, showing its evolution by making official the words and phrases that were most important in the year previous. This year, in preparation of its 2023 edition, the dictionary added 150 new words, which according to the publishing company, “testify to both the vitality and diversity of the French language.”

These are the words that have gotten people talking the most:

Covid long

After over two years of Covid-19, it is not surprising that a number of coronavirus-related words have entered the dictionary. “Covid long” refers to the condition of lingering Covid-19 symptoms, sometimes for weeks or months after infection. Other Covid-19 related words and phrases that are now included in the Larousse are: passe vaccinal (vaccine pass), passe sanitaire (sanitary pass), vaccinateur or vaccinatrice (vaccinator), vaccinodrome (vaccine center), and distanciel (at a distance).

Wokisme

The noun “wokisme,” which made headlines and sparked controversy this past year, is now defined by the Larousse as follows: “Woke-inspired ideology, centered on questions of equality, justice and the defense of minorities, sometimes perceived as an attack on republican universalism.”

Le séparatisme

Another word reflective of the political climate in France, “Séparatisme” has been added to the dictionary under the definition “the will of a minority, usually religious, to place its own laws above national legislation.” A lot of times, you will see this word in debates surrounding religion and immigration.

Grossophobie

Grossophobie” is defined as “a hostile, mocking and/or contemptuous, even discriminatory, attitude towards obese or overweight people.” In English, this word is “fatphobia.”

NFT

The rise of tech and all things crypto is not specific to the anglophone word. Now, the English acronym, NFT, has made its way into the French dictionary, defined in French as “Les jetons non fongibles” (Non-fungible tokens). 

l’Halloumi

Finally, the Larousse dictionary added plenty of words with non-French origins, like “Halloumi” which is a type of cheese made from mixed goat and sheep’s milk that is originally from Cyprus.

The Larousse 2023 will also include other new words from different foreign languages, like konjac (a Japanese plant), kakapo (a New Zealand parrot), tomte (a Swedish elf) and yodel (a singing technique from the German-speaking Alps).

These are just a few of the 64,000 words that will be included in the 2023 version of the dictionary.

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Reader question: Can you avoid seeing a dubbed movie in French cinemas?

If you're not a fan of the tradition of dubbing foreign-language movies into French, here's how to avoid it.

Reader question: Can you avoid seeing a dubbed movie in French cinemas?

Question: Sometimes I like to watch Hollywood movies in France, but they always seem to be dubbed into French – is there a way of avoiding dubbed versions?

Going to the cinema is one of life’s joys for many people – and France, the home of Cannes, is well known as a nation of cinephiles. But what if you want to enjoy an overseas film with its original language soundtrack rather than one that has been dubbed into French?

You can do that, too. Many cinemas in France show original language versions of films with French subtitles as well as French dubbed versions. 

The trick is to know which screenings are which – and for that you need to look at cinema listings online or in the local press.

The acronym you’re looking for in the cinema listings is VOST – which stands for Version Originale Sous-Titrée – and that means the screening in question has the original soundtrack and (French) subtitles. 

Frequently, avant-premiere screenings – preview showings of films in selected cinemas before their official release in France – are VOST.

You may occasionally also see VO – Version Originale – which comes without subtitles for the full-on original movie experience.

It’s similar to the VM (Version Multilingue)  initialisation on French TV, which allows viewers to watch imported TV shows or movies in their original language, as well as in French.

If the listing shows no initials, it means the movie will be dubbed into French, so you’ll be treated to the sight of one of your favourite American or British movie starts speaking fluent French – albeit while their mouth moves slightly out-of-sync with the words being spoken.

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