Thursday, April 11, 2013


Lifting London
Now and again there's time to read a little French. And as I cut my way through the jungle of half-understood expressions, something that is a great relief is to find old friends - words the French have lifted from English . Each one is a little encouragement: fewer new words to learn, and the sense that, in any case, French is moving closer to English.

But, there's a twist. The words don't always mean what we're used to them meaning in English.

One of the things they've been lifting is the word lifting itself. I've just come across it in the French/English Toulouse Airport magazine, InToulouse, in a piece to encourage visitors to London. Here's the actual French text:
"Sur les bords de la Tamise, tout bouge en permanence, à l’image du lifting architectural qui dynamise depuis quelques années la capitale anglaise."
Yes, lifting. The translation is:
"On the banks of the Thames, everything is in constant movement, like the new and exciting architecture which has boomed in Britain’s capital in recent years."
Doesn't that word lifting just jump out at you? Google translate says that in French it meas a face-lift, which I guess fits, what with the Shard going up and, no doubt, lots of other buildings too.

Why didn't the French just take the actual English word, face-lift? I guess it wasn't quite English enough. It had to be Englished up a bit more by adding that -ing ending. There we are, a properly English word that's had its own relooking, its own lifting

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