Les mots Franglais

Last week (27th January 2015) I did one of my “cours supplémentaires” with a 5e class (yes I willingly do more hours at work than I’m employed to do, although to be fair, I am paid overtime and enjoy it), and I decided to work on reasons for learning English and on English in the French language.

I started the activity by asking my pupils to tell me reasons why English is an important language to learn and why they have chosen to come to these extra classes (they are not obliged to come), to improve their English.

Their response was very interesting. The very first pupil told me that English was important because it is “langue universelle”, and “everybody speaks it”. The second pupil to raise her hand told me that she wanted to learn English so she would be able to speak it when she goes on holiday.

I then asked the pupils about any music that they listened to and I sang (very badly I might add), a few lines of the recently famous “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor  – to which all of the girls sang the rest of the chorus, and even the boys hummed along. When I asked the girls if they understood the words to the song, they said that they understood the majority of the words but not all – so in the future lessons I hope to work more on songs and do a translation exercise where I will be able to really see how many of the words they actually understand – as I’m not sure how accurate “a majority of the words” actually is. I also asked them to name me some other singers that they liked and they mentioned “One Direction”, “Adele” and “Rihanna” – all Anglophone singers.

I also asked my students about which video games they liked to play and one pupil mentioned the game “Watch dog”. I asked him what he thought it meant and he said “bah, c’est un chien qui regarde”, showing that he didn’t really understand the other definition “A person or group that monitors the practices of companies providing a particular service or utility” which the game is about – it is not about an actual dog who watched a house or property.

After asking these questions, I then showed them a PowerPoint with 10 reasons why learning English was a good idea. After going through the PowerPoint I gave each pupil a worksheet with 107 words that I had seen and heard used around school, town and in the college. I asked the students to put a tick or highlight any word which they recognized and would use in normal/ everyday French when talking to their peers, family, teachers etc. I then asked them to either write for me French sentences with the word in it so I can see how they used it, or to write me a description of the word in either English or French.

Unfortunately, as the class was only an hour long, the students didn’t have time to finish the complete exercise, and most of them only managed to tick/ highlight the words and write a few sentences – so I hope to finish the grid in my next lesson.

Obviously there were two goals to this lesson. The first was to be able to show the students how many words they already understood in English without having studied or revised at all. When I pointed this out to the class, they all seemed surprised at how many words they already knew, and commented that they did recognise now that English is being used more and more in everyday French.

The other goal of the lesson was for me to see if words I the words that I had heard around the school, town and house were often used amongst these pupils, which words these young students did use in English and how they used the word in their French sentences. To exemplify, it was interesting that the words “airbag”, “babysitter” and “barman” (along with many others in the grid), were used in the same way as English, whereas other words such as “brushing” have been taken from English but are have other meanings in French i.e. in France, un brushing = a blow dry

Although the table below is not complete (I will endeavour to complete it in within the next few weeks) – it does show how many English words students recognise and what they think of the meanings of these words:

Words used in everyday/ normal French FREQUENCY OF STUDENTS– i.e. no of people who agree that this word is used in everyday/ normal French Extra notes
1) Airbag *!@^ACDEF
  1. A) C’est dans la voiture quand on a un accident
  2. C) C’est le ballon qui gonfle dans la voiture pour amortir un choc
  3. D) A airbag is on the car
  4. E) There is a airbag in the car
  5. F) A airbag is in the car

!) Pour les accidents de voiture

@) Quand on fait un accident sa protège la tête du volant dans une voiture

^) Cousin en cas d’accident

*) Gros coussin

2) Babysitter *!@^ABCDEF
  1. A) C’est garder un enfant
  2. B) C’est une nourrice
  3. C) Looks after children
  4. D) C’est un garde d’enfants
  5. E) Looks after children
  6. F) A babysitter looks after children

!) Elle garde les enfants

@)C’est un nounou

^) Garde des enfants

*) Garde enfant

3) Barbecue *!@^ABCDEF
  1. A) C’est grilles de la norriture
  2. C) Machine pour cuisiner la viande
  3. D) C’est ce que l’on fait l’été dans le jardin
  4. F) A barbecue is place in the garden, is chauffing

!) Pour cuire les aliments l’été

@) On cuit les aliments en été

^) Grille la viande

*) Grille viande

4) Barman *!@^ABCDEF
  1. A) Servir des boissons
  2. B) C’est une personne qui s’occupe du bar
  3. C) Personne qui s’occupe du bar
  4. D) A barman
  5. F) A barman distribute product in bar

!) Dans les soirée

@) C’est dans des soiré il distribute des verre avec du jus

^) Bar

*) Serveure

5) Base-ball *!@^ABCDEF
  1. A) Jouer avec un ballon
  2. B) C’est un sport
  3. C) Sport
  4. D) C’est un sport
  5. E) Play with a ball
  6. F) A base-ball is with sport

!) Sport

@) C’est un sport

^) Sport

*) Jeu avec une batte

6) Baskets *!@^ABCDEF
  1. A) Jouer a marguer de panier
  2. B) Panier
  3. C) Sports et chaussure
  4. D) Ce sont des chaussures
  5. E) I wear on the feet
  6. F) A baskets is a sport

!) Panier/ chausseur

@) Panier

^) Chaussure

*) Chaussur

7) Beefsteak *!^ABCEF
  1. A) C’est de la viande
  2. b) C’est de la viande
  3. C) Viande
  4. E) It’s a meat
  5. F) A beefsteak is a meat

!) Viande

^) Viande

*) Viande

8) Best-of *!@^ABCEF
  1. A) C’est un betisier
  2. B) Meilleure musique

!) Les meilleurs

@) Le meilleur

^) Le top des music

*) Meillure chose

9) Boy band *!@^D Apparently in France they say “BoyS band” so with the S

  1. D) C’est un groupe de mec

!) One direction

@) One direction

^) One direction

*) groupe de garcon

10) Brushing *!@^ABCDEF Meaning a “blow dry” in France, instead of having someone actually brush your hair

  1. A) C’est la coupe des cheveux
  2. B) Coiffure
  3. C) Coiffure
  4. D) C’est ce qu’on fait au coiffeur pour les femmes
  5. E) It’s for hair
  6. F) C’est paru se coiffer

!) Pour les cheveux

@) Pour les cheveux

^) Brushing

*) Coupe de cheveau

11) Building *^DEF
  1. D) C’est un immeuble

*) Grand immeuble

12) Business *^ABEFCD
  1. C) Scord
  2. D) Les affaires

F)C’est le faite de se faire de la popularité et de l’argent

*) Vendre chose

13) Caddie *!@^BCEFD
  1. B) Chariot
  2. C) Chariot pour faire les cours
  3. D) Moyen de transports
  4. E) For doing buy food

!) Pour les courses

@) C’est pour mettre les course quand on va au magasin

^) Transport pour les courses

*) Vendre les cources

14) Camping *!@^ABCEF
  1. A) C’est d’aller en vacances
  2. B) Terrain de campement
  3. C) Lieu pour camping

!) Parcs pour les tentes

@) Pour les tente

*) Vacances

15) Cameraman *!@^ABCDEF
  1. B) Person tenant la caméra
  2. C) personne tenant la camera
  3. D) Filmeur

!) Pour la TV

@) C’est selui qui film

*) Mec qui a un camera

16) Casting *!@^ABCDE
  1. C) Rôles
  2. D) Audition
17) Challenge *!@^ABCDEF
  1. C) Parie
  2. D) Défi
  3. F) C’est un défi
18) Cheeseburger *!@^ABCDEF
  1. B) Sandwich
  2. C) Sandwich
  3. F) C’est un hamburger avec du fromage
19) Chewing-gum *!@^ABCDEF
  1. B) Pâte à mâcher
  2. C) Pâte à mâcher
  3. D) Bon bon
20) Cool *!@^ABCDEF
  1. B) Super
  2. C) Bien
21) Corn-flakes *!^ABCDEF
  1. B) Céréales
  2. D) Céréale
22) Cow-boy *!^ADF
  1. D) Justicier du far-ouest
  2. F) C’est une personne qui vit dans le far-west
23) Crash *!@^ADF
  1. F) C’est un accident
24) Dealer *!^AD
  1. D) Vendeur de stupéfiants
25) D-J *!@^AEF F)C’est une personne qui mix la musique
26) E-mail *!@^AEF
  1. D) Message électronique
27) Fast-food *!@^AEF
  1. F) Mc Do, KFC, grec, kebab
28) Football *!@^AEF
  1. F) Sport avec un ballon
29) Gangster *!^AEF
  1. F) Rakui (racaille meant maybe?)
30) Globe-trotter *AE
31) Goal *!@AE
32) Handball *!@^AE
33) Hold-up *!AE
34) Iceberg *!^AE
35) Interview *!@^AE
36) Jackpot *!^AE
37) Job *!@^AE
38) Jogging *!@^AE
39) Joystick *
40) Ketchup *!@^AE
41) Kidnapping *!@^AE
42) Leader *!@AE
43) Light *@^A
44) Meeting *!@AE
45) OK *!@^AE Also use KO as in knocked ok
46) Planning *!@^AE
47) Penalty *!@AE
48) Pick-pocket *!@^AE
49) Ping-pong *!@^AE
50) Pin’s *AE Used to mean “badge”
51) Popcorn *!@^AE
52) Poster *!@^AE
53) Prime time E
54) Punching ball *!AE Meaning both a victim and the actual punching ball used in boxing
55) Puzzle *!@^
56) Revolver *!@^
57) Roller *!@^
58) Rosbif *!@^
59) Rock & Roll *!@^
60) Rugby *!@^
61) Sandwich *!@^
62) Scoop *!@^ In France scoop means “some new information” – kind of gossip or des nouvelles
63) Scooter *!@^
64) Score *!@^
65) Scotch *!@^ Scotch is used to mean what we call “selotape” in England – scotch for us in England is a drink
66) Serial killer *!^
67) Shopping *!@^
68) Short *!@^
69) Single *!@^
70) Skateboard *!@^
71) Sketch *!@^
72) SMS *!@^
73) Snob *!
74) S.O.S *!@^
75) Star *!@^
76) Stop *!@^
77) Stress *!@^
78) Sweat-shirt *!@^
79) T-shirt *!@^
80) Talkie-walkie *!@^
81) Thriller *!
82) Ticket *!@^
83) Top-model *!@^
84) Volley-ball *!^
85) Walkman @
86) Week-end *!@^
87) Zoom *!@^
1) Web *!@^
2) Basketball *!@^
3) Volleyball *!@^
4) Stretch @
5) Reporter *!^
6) Cool *!@^
7) Lol *!@^
8) Parking *!@^
9) Shopping *!@^
10) Has been !
11) Fun *!@^
12) Fake *!@^
13) Goal average (in French goalavérage)
14) Freeride
15) Freestyle *!@^
16) Melting pot
17) Cool *!@^
18) Post *!@
19) “Customizer”
20) Shooter (verb-photograph) *!@^


*!@^ = represent 4 different students who filled in whole survey

 A/B/C/D/E/F = represent students who didn’t manage to fill out the whole sheet in given time

NB: Not all students managed to finish filling out the table and writing sentences/ definitions for words in English/ French. Furthermore, where there are spelling errors/grammatical errors, this is due to having copied exactly what the students write. I have also had to miss out some sentences written by students, as sadly their handwriting was illegible. However, I will try to ask them to re-write their sentences so I can add them to the table.

Originally the “questionnaire” was solely for lesson purposes, and was meant to be used to show the pupils how many English words they knew and used daily with their friends without really thinking about it. However, after the lesson I decided that it would be interesting to hand the “questionnaire” out to some different aged staff members to see if they used the same words as the younger generation, and to see if there were any general similarities or differences in the use of words between not only the children and the staff but also between the different staff members themselves.

For instance, only one student mentioned that they knew the word “prime-time” but didn’t give a definition or an example of how they would use it in French (probably due to time issues). However all 3 teachers knew the word “prime-time” and two gave definitions of it 1) TV 2) C’est un primetime.

Words used in everyday/ normal French FREQUENCY OF STUDENTS– i.e. no of people who agree that this word is used in everyday/ normal French Extra notes
1) Airbag T2/T3
2) Babysitter T2/T3
3) Barbecue T2/T3 T1) On va faire un barbacue
4) Barman T2/T3
5) Base-ball T2/T3
6) Baskets T2/T3
7) Beefsteak T3 T2) Biftek
8) Best-of T2/T3 T1 le best of
9) Boy band T2/T3 T1 Boysband

T2 Boys band

10) Brushing T2/T3
11) Building T3 T2 don’t use in French
12) Business T2/T3
13) Caddie T2/T3 T1 Trolley (caddie c’est la marque)
14) Camping T2/T3
15) Cameraman T2/T3
16) Casting T2/T3
17) Challenge T2/T3
18) Cheeseburger T2/T3
19) Chewing-gum T2/T3
20) Cool T2/T3
21) Corn-flakes T2/T3
22) Cow-boy T2/T3
23) Crash T2/T3 T1 Un gros accident I.e. il s’est craché/ il se crache/ il a eu un accident/ il a rate qqch
24) Dealer T2/T3
25) D-J T2/T3
26) E-mail T2/T3
27) Fast-food T2/T3
28) Football T2/T3
29) Gangster T2/T3
30) Globe-trotter T2/T3
31) Goal /T3 T2 Au foot
32) Handball T2/T3
33) Hold-up T2/T3 T1 Il y a un hold-up
34) Iceberg T2/T3 T1 Le titanic s’est mange un iceburg
35) Interview T2/T3
36) Jackpot T2/T3 T1 J’ai gagné le jackpot
37) Job T2/T3
38) Jogging T2/T3 T1 Je vais faire un jogging/ Je vais porter un jogging
39) Joystick T2/T3
40) Ketchup T2/T3
41) Kidnapping T2/T3
42) Leader T2/T3
43) Light T1 cola light/ light cigarettes

T2 For food or drink

44) Meeting T1 métange (meeting written the same way as English but pronounced as métange/ big meeting – not just a rendez-vous)

T2 job/ politics

45) OK T2/T3 T1 use this like in English but also KO i.e. je suis K.O. = I’m out of it
46) Planning T2/T3 T2 What I have to do
47) Penalty T2/T3 T2 Foot
48) Pick-pocket T2/T3
49) Ping-pong T2/T3
50) Pin’s T2/T3 T1 badge
51) Popcorn T2/T3
52) Poster T2/T3
53) Prime time T2/T3 T1 C’est en primetime (9h le soir)


54) Punching ball T2/T3 T1 Object and person
55) Puzzle T3 T2 Jigsaw
56) Revolver T3
57) Roller T3
58) Rosbif T3
59) Rock & Roll T3
60) Rugby T3
61) Sandwich T3
62) Scoop T3 T3 J’ai un scoop (i.e. something new to tell you)
63) Scooter T3
64) Score T3 Sport
65) Scotch T3
66) Serial killer T3
67) Shopping T3
68) Short T3 T2 Vêtement
69) Single T2 Un disque
70) Skateboard T3
71) Sketch T3
72) SMS T3
73) Snob T3 T1 Snobina
74) S.O.S T3
75) Star T3 T1 une star de télé
76) Stop T3
77) Stress T3
78) Sweat-shirt T3
79) T-shirt T3
80) Talkie-walkie T3
81) Thriller T3
82) Ticket T3
83) Top-model T3
84) Volley-ball T3
85) Walkman T3
86) Week-end T3
87) Zoom T3
1) Web T3
2) Basketball T3
3) Volleyball T3
4) Stretch T3
5) Reporter T3
6) Cool T3
7) Lol T3
8) Parking T3
9) Shopping T3
10) Has been T3
11) Fun T3
12) Fake T3 T2 certaines personnes
13) Goal average (in French goalavérage) T3 T2 Yes to the French version
14) Freeride T3
15) Freestyle T3
16) Melting pot T3
17) Cool T3
18) Post T2 La poste but not the English version
19) “Customizer” T3
20) Shooter (verb-photograph) T3 T3 Shooter for football

Teacher grid

T1 = Teacher 1 = 60+

T2 = Teacher 2 = 45+ (English teacher)

T3 = Teacher 3 = 25+ (Sports teacher)


  • Teachers’ questionnaires were carried out in an informal manner in the staffroom with me approaching each staff member, explaining what the questionnaire was about, and then either them just filling it out as T3 did, or also having an informal chat with me, as with T1 and T2
  • T1 only gave me definitions of how he would use certain English words in French/ what they meant for him
  • T2 Only ticked up to word 54 (punching ball) but did give some definitions and sentences with English words included or the French translation on both sides of the page to show she knew what they meant.
  • T3 Ticked both sides of the paper provided and gave some explanations of how English words are used in French/ what they mean to her


From my results, it is clear to see that both the staff members and the students all knew a large variety of words on the list and were able to provide me with some sentences of how they are used in French, or of their understanding of the meaning of these words. It was also evident that the staff knew some different words to students and used them different ways – for example, the word “light” was used by T1 in terms of cigarettes, whereas the pupils (although they didn’t write any explanation), when spoken to mentioned that they used “light” in terms of “cola light”.

Furthermore, the sports teacher was the only person to say that she would use the verb “shooter” in English in “football” terms, whereas when asked all the students said they would use it to mean taking a photo; showing that different jobs potentially have an impact on the type of English learnt and used as well as age being a factor. T2 also mentioned that “shooter” could be drug related, which was also not picked up on by any of my young students.

I hope that within the next few week I will be able to get my pupils to complete their questionnaires and maybe hand out a few more to different aged students and teachers so that I will have more results and be able to get a more well-rounded idea of the knowledge and use of English words in French.

I am also hoping to start doing some formal interviews soon to get a more in-depth, qualitative view of English use in French, and then be able to compare it with my questionnaires.

(NB: All questionnaires given to and filled out by my pupils take place within the college, in school time (during either a normal lesson or during my cours supplémentaires), the recorded results in the table are all anonymous and I have informed the teachers about my use of the materials taken in class being used in my project. As it is completely anonymous it is no issue for them, and I am not aware that I need to get any protocol forms signed.)

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