“Suddenly”, “in fashion”… These fashionable expressions betray what we are

Language is above all social, cultural, it allows you to identify the group to which you belong. Pixabay

These language tics, more banal, actually reveal the world we live in…

“Tell me about yourself and I’ll tell you who you are.” Or more precisely which society you live in, which world you belong to. This is in a way the answer given by Julie Neveux in her book I speak as I am (Grasset). Language is above all social, cultural, it allows you to identify the group to which you belong. Behind ready-made expressions like “selfie” or “carefree”, more complex intentions or ideas are conveyed. Here’s a little insight into what our speech habits hide…

● Suddenly

In the world of linguistics “the plague” appears like an earthquake. It has been able to impose itself on all generations in front of many of its equivalents: “in the end”, “in the end”, “therefore”, “because of this”, “therefore”… The plague is one of the most polysemous in the French language. From “punch” to “throwing dice” to “sunburn”, its uses are (almost) endless. However, in every expression the word “coup” reveals a form of brutality, a violence. The use of the expression “du coup” is to seek to be “impactful”, to introduce a dynamic.

● In mode

“In survival mode”, “in vacation mode”… This expression is everywhere in the language of young people to the point of being unbearable. But where did this terrible tic come from? In fact, to say “en mode” is to unconsciously realize an analogy between man and machine. We literally say to our washing machine, computer or GPS that it is “in standby mode, on on mode…”. The problem then comes from the lack of awareness of the metaphorical aspect of the expression which reveals a fascination of the new generations for machines rather than their companions…

● Hashtags

Generated by the hash key on the keyboard (#), the hashtag became a viral success on Twitter. The English word “hashtag” is a contraction. “Hash” comes from the French “hacher” (to cut with an ax) and is a shortcut for “hash mark” which refers to a type of stripe worn by soldiers whose number of hatches shows of the number of years spent serving the country in combat and from which the shape of the hashtag was inspired. “Tag” is used in contemporary English as a means of identification (a cow wears a “hear tag” on its ear for example). So the “hashtag” is the identification of the ax, in other words the coarse assimilation.

● Selfies

“Shall we take a selfie?” This intolerable practice has won over tourists of all generations. The inventor of this digital self-portrait technique is none other than a young Australian who, in 2002 during a drunken night, invented this neologism. “Self” actually means “oneself” in English and the suffix “ie” is used at the end of common nouns to indicate a beautiful appearance. Literally, selfie is “cute me”. Questionable. Note that our neighbors in Quebec are talking about selfies.

● Living together

Sacred “word of the year” in Robert’s dictionary in 2016, the nominal expression “living together” embodies the project of the republic since Ernest Renan and his answer to the question: “What is a nation?” – “The truth of living together”. Often disputed, it is nevertheless rich in learning. More than a grammatical error, “living together” contains a failure: the use of the name means that living together is not practiced. It becomes a concept and not a practice.

● Don’t worry

“Anxiety” qualified, at the time of its appearance in the 14th century, a deep anxiety, a grief. It was later subjected to euphemization to become synonymous with “problem”. Despite everything, he kept an emotional aspect that his counterpart did not explain. A society that favors “no worries” over “no problems” therefore in fact betrays the presence of many things that burn.

● Burnout

Most fashionable Anglicism, “burn-out” translates to an advanced state of depression. Each of the terms in this expression is interesting. In English, the suffix “out” indicates the completion of a process while the verb “to burn” means to burn. When the psychoanalyst Freudengberger introduced it in 1974, he explained: the idea is to pass from the geological metaphor (depression) to the ecological metaphor. Man is considered a victim of the ecosystem of total combustion: his resources are depleted.

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