I·ATE Food Term of the Week: Do you speak French?


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Matching today`s celebration of Bastille day all over the world, this week’s I-ate term is dedicated to the French cuisine.
The splendid lifestyle of French people has been a role model for various countries over the last centuries. This does not only include their good taste in food, but also their elegant style in fashion and their harmonious language – especially as during the opulent and luxurious times of the Renaissance and the Baroque period people wanted to adopt the French savoir-vivre. This time is known for the abundancy, the exquisite taste and the splendorous furnishings of the aristocracy.

In spite of all these cultural peculiarities of France, indeed the culinary skills had the biggest impact on other countries. French cuisine has not only turned into an export hit, but has also installed itself in the everyday language of various countries. Let`s have a look at some of the terms that have crept into the English language.

It all starts already with your choice of eatery. Whether you want to have your dinner in a restaurant, a bistro, a brasserie or even a café, you will eat in a place inspired by the French culture. You may want to study the menu and order à la carte, but no matter what you order, the probability that your food has French origins is high, just as the designations that established themselves in English. Especially as the influences of haute cuisine have, for example, brought foie gras, soufflé and hors d`oeuvre to other countries. Also, the way of preparing dishes has rubbed off on the whole world, so everyone nowadays has an idea about what poaching, pureeing, flambéing or blanching is. You can now find coq au vin, omelette or quiche in any restaurant. The desserts cover crêpes to crème brûlée and petit fours, but even if you prefer having a simple picnic outside with a salad, some baguette with pâté and charcuterie, you will be more sophisticated than you may think with your knowledge of French language. Some words may have been adapted to the orthography and pronunciation of the given languages, so that you may not even know they have foreign origins but others have been integrated in their original form just as we know it for many other words that are new to a culture and have no equivalent in their own language.

We hope you found some inspiration for a good meal in these few examples of authentic French food and wish you a cheerful 14 juillet!






Written by Karine Marinho Ribeiro – Communication Study Visitor at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and a student of the Master´s Programme in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg. She holds a BA in German and Lusophone Philology from the University of Cologne. She speaks Portuguese, Luxembourgish, German, French, English and Spanish.