Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's the Césars!

Marc explains the news from France

Ugh. Tonight's the César awards, presented by the imaginary Académie des Césars" (French had to copy the Oscars, by inventing an institution just to award them). The Académie (not française, but des Césars), uses the term "nommé" for "nominee". You see, the French get their panties in a twist for the oddest things. While they see nothing wrong about saying "mail" instead of "courriel" for e-mail, and while they delight in doing their "footing" (jogging) wearing their "jogging" (track suit), their skin crawls when you say "nominé" for "nominee".

Why is this a problem? Well, because "nominé", despite its perfectly French looks, is an illegal alien. Search for "nominé" + "barbarisme" in Google and you get over 8000 hits. And almost all those riled up about this will tell you that the "right" term in French is "nommé".

Except, of course, that this is total BS. "Nommé" is the past participle of "nommer", a verb that means "to name". A civil servant is "nommé" to his position, for example. In the context of an award, it would mean the winner of the award, not a nominee. "Untel est nommé au César du meilleur acteur" would be far more likely to mean that Untel won the award, not that he was one of a number of candidates.<

And there you have the right "right" word. A far better choice would be "candidat".


Kati said...

Oh dear, I'm jealous! You seem to be having no end of fun with them barbarisms!

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