JCC Question: why does the American military/intelligence use french words?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Violent Violet Menace, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    What's with the American military and French words?


    "You will meet with your liaison at the rendezvous point, 4 clicks west from your position".

    This is wrong!

    It should be:

    "You will meet with your freedom at the freedom point"!


    Actually, isn't clicks military jargon for kilometers? Which is from the metric system. Which is evil.

    The full sentence should read:

    "You will meet with your freedom at the freedom point, 4 freedoms from your position".

    [face_flag]
    Last edited by ViolentVioletMenace, Oct 10, 2012
  2. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
    The Japanese have spiky hair.
  3. MrZAP Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 5
    Maybe it has to do with our alliance with the French during the American Revolution? I dunno. Is this common to the UK and other English speaking nations too or is it just the U.S.?
  4. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    I don't know, I only watch American movies.
  5. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    Because they're good at subterfuge.
  6. Jedi_Hood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2000
    star 6
    Many of the French military terms are the legacy of one Napoleon Bonaparte.
  7. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Oh, that makes sense.

    J'accuse, Napoleon!
  8. Billy_Dee_Binks Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 29, 2002
    star 4
    Another question: Why call it a Walkie Talkie?

  9. Mar17swgirl Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2000
    star 7
    Don't let Jello hear you... :p

    Also, it's funny how both "tennis" and "may day" started because Englishmen couldn't pronounce French words properly... :p
  10. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Please...denigrating the French is so last decade. Today, it's the entirety of Europe that is evil. Because they are socialists.
    Last edited by Alpha-Red, Oct 10, 2012
  11. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Maybe we can link the fact that the military operates with kilometers to Napoleon and his evil METRIC SOCIALIST CONSPIRACY!!! :eek: Centimeter by centimeter, your quarter pounder is turning into a Royale with cheese as we speak! It's already started. The signs are there. Haven't you noticed that it's stuffed with... red meat? o_O
    Last edited by ViolentVioletMenace, Oct 10, 2012
    MrZAP and Mar17swgirl like this.
  12. Miana Kenobi Costuming & Props Mod - Retired Admin

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    Because the English language was formed by taking German, putting it in a blender, and throwing in French and Latin.
  13. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    Meh, so is America.
    They just don't want to admit it.
  14. CMShake Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2010
    star 1
    Until the 1870s the French were (or at least were popularly seen as) leading advances in military thinking. As a result quite a few terms and practices used in many countries militaries are French in origin. Also French terms have a terrible habit winding their way into English anyway.
    Last edited by CMShake, Oct 10, 2012
  15. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    I'm going to attempt try seek to compose write this entire whole message post note thing without utilizing using saying any terms words of French origin descent derivation provenance stock. It's very quite difficult challenging hard in this language tongue.
  16. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    But Terr, aren't those examples words that share a common root in latin in both languages, or that happen to be borrowed from latin later on in both languages? In the case of "rendezvous", it's even pronounced as in French (attempted, at least), even when saying the term in English, even though those letters would be read completely differently in English, which to me suggests that it must have been taken in to the English at a later date than those other examples.
  17. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Nope, all of the stricken words in my post came into English directly via French, albeit mostly through the Norman French dialect of the 11th-13th centuries, which explains some of the differences in spelling or meaning from modern day French (both the English and French languages have evolved quite a bit since then). You're definitely right that words like liaison and rendez-vous were adopted much later, which is why their pronunciation is comparable to contemporary French.

    Words like castle, chair, and chandelier were all adopted from French at different periods in the language's evolution, and it's easy to see the order of their adoption. In modern day French, all three words begin with the "sh" sound of chandelier (château, chaise, and chandelier). But this "sh" sound was formerly a "ch" sound, and before that a "k" sound. The word castle bears seemingly little resemblance to château, which goes to show how much French has evolved since the Norman invasion.
  18. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    Terr, you're sounding suspiciously like an educated elite.
  19. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    You're not only into maps, you're into languages too?

    Are you the reincarnation of JRR Tolkien? :p
  20. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Here's a question, why do our military and intelligence services use English? I mean, Great Britain was the very first country we fought a war against. We should be reminding ourselves how evil they were and ridding ourselves of all British influence. Oh no, why am I talking in English? Ahhh! The Britishness...it pervades everything!!
  21. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Thanks for that explanation, that was interesting. The more you know. :)
    Last edited by ViolentVioletMenace, Oct 11, 2012
  22. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    I also used to create numerous fantasy worlds as a youth, so yes.

    Actually, my primary concentration in grad school was dialectology, which marries language and geography, two of my favorite things in the whole wide world.
    Darth-Ghost likes this.
  23. Boba_Fett_2001 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2000
    star 8
    GREG DROPPING KNOWLEDGE BOMBS
    Terr_Mys likes this.
  24. GrandAdmiralJello Emperor: Community & Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Some of those are very Latinate, but if you're certain that they came from Latin via Norman French, I'm not going to challenge you on that. I'd prefer not to get schooled. :p
  25. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    There were a couple I was skeptical about, so I double-checked. :p

    In the process I discovered that "difficult" is a back-formation from the French word difficulté (difficulty), which explains why it differs from the French adjectival form difficile. Fascinating!