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Fragging the Froggies


What's wrong with pay TV, jet, jingle, discount and such words? Plenty, says the French government. They represent the invasion of pure French by Franglais, as do long-established words from English such as smoking and weekend. M. Mitterand's government now wants to fine Frenchmen the equivalent of seven dollars each time one of these words is used; it has legally banned some 126 of them in all. Sacre bleu! Howard Smith suggests we retaliate by weeding out of English such French words as lassez-faire and café and such expressions as c'est la vie ("tough titty"). He would replace raconteur with "big mouth," femme fatale with "killer bitch," and cinema verité with black and white films made without a tripod. I see (as the French would say) him coming with his big wooden shoes ("where he's coming from, what he's up to") and wonder what Word Ways readers would suggest we substitute for the French words and expressions given below. There are no right answers in the back of the magazine this time - use your imagination!