Yesterday my colleagues and I took a break from our shoot in Boundiali, Cote d’Ivoire, to eat lunch at a hotel restaurant. While we waited (and waited, and waited) for our food, a television played a Mexican telenovela overdubbed in French at a volume that I found annoying. I annoyed myself further by mindlessly complaining about how much I hate overdubbing, how loud the volume was, how dumb the show was, how much I wanted to turn off the TV, etc.
Finally I snapped out of it and apologized for being even more obnoxious than the show. I explained that in English we have a word called “hangry” — hungry + angry — that explained my behavior. I asked whether there was a similar word in French. My colleagues didn’t think so. (I later googled and confirmed there is not.) And yet, the word is simply begging to be created: faimché = faim (hungry) + faché(e) (angry). The only question is whether you would say “j’ai faimché” the way you say, “j’ai faim,” (literally: I have hunger) or whether you would say “je suis faimché” the way you say, “je suis faché” (I am angry). I guess if you are faimché enough you don’t care about grammar, so either way would work.
To balance out my gift of a new word to the French lexicon (not that the French want it – they are well-known neologism haters), I received a new-to-me word in return, one that I love.
At lunch today (same restaurant, same ridiculous wait time, but thankfully the TV volume was lower this time around), I wanted to bring up the objectification of women as relevant to the conversation we were having. Since object is objet in French, and since English words ending in -tion and -sion usually have French analogs, I assumed that I could expound upon the objetification des femmes and that everyone would know what I was talking about. They did not. One colleague caught my drift and corrected me, though. He told me that in French they use the noun chosification and the verb chosifier to say what I had meant. Chose means thing; chosifier literally translates to “thingify.”
I love this. It has such a Dr. Seuss-like ring to it, doesn’t it? If you catch me using the word thingify in future, you will know where I got it from. Just trying to add to the richness and variety of the English language, which unlike French, welcomes new words with open arms.
While I’m here, and since it’s Friday, I’ll share two articles (one of which coincidentally references the other) that I found fascinating this week:
Around the world in five kids’ schoolyard games.
A dazzling map shows NYC’s incredible linguistic diversity.
Have a good weekend!
[Photo of thingified, hangry man: Mike Tungate]