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Until the last century, it was a must for literate people. Not surprising considering how long the Roman Empire ruled what became France. Latin has been slowly losing its appeal recently, in favor of English mostly I don't speak a word of Latin whereas I have a decent level of English , but English is less 'classy' than 'cool'. There isn't French equivalent of that because the French consider French to be the fanciest language in the world even fancy doesn't have an exact equivalent, they might say sophisticated or beautiful.

This is not unique to the French, the Italians believe "la bella lingua" to be the most beautiful language in the world, and many other countries will too. It's worth noting that use of Italian, Latin and Spanish phrases are also deemed "fancy", though not with the same prevalence as French. One possible explanation is that any use of a foreign language phrase indicates a certain level of culture, although this tends to be restricted to Latin languages there aren't many Chinese or German phrases, and the few there are don't come across as "fancy".

French is seen as classy in Britain is because French was the language spoken by parts of the upper classes, while the lower classes spoke a mix of British and Saxon. That's why many things have a French name when the thing is spoken of in polite society and the Saxon name is used in other segments of society:. In some cases the Saxon word has being pushed out to the point of being rude. For example breeding in Dutch a very Saxon language is "fokken" and as you can guess what the English Saxon equivalent was.

Your bum or "tushy" if you're in USA in Dutch is kont, which sounds similar to an English swear word. With that knowledge it may be argued that the notion of a foreign language being superior to the native tongue and therefore "classy" is a cultural peculiarity of English that arose from a push to brand the native language as "common" or vulgar, which in turn arose from the specific historical events.

Therefore seeking an equivalent in the language of a country where that has not happened is rather futile. Some time ago the French would adopt English words when there was no pithy French equivalent, such as "marketing," "sandwich," or "weekend" for example. That is just practical linguistic cross-pollination and has nothing to do with the question.


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But nowadays they grab all kinds of simple words even if there is a perfectly good French word. Some of these are French words stopper, for example but what I heard or read was not the correct French sense of the word but the English sense. For example: Si t'il plait stopper crier si fort.

That is not how stopper is used in correct French. Google thinks that phrase is fine. A good French teacher will reach for their big red pen. Other examples:. Then I hit the Internet and found much, much more. This answer, I admit, has a broad interpretation of "fancy" and "classy," as some of you pointed out.


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This answer is also open to the that's-already-a-French-word criticism. But I suspect that if you research the word that you will uncover the same situation that this question presents: The word was adopted from English for no other reason than it was "classy" or "cool", or whatever, and that there was a perfectly acceptable alternative in French.

I think that pride or vanity? They are blind indeed, because - unfortunately! I could fill dozens of pages! In the big societies, you can see more and more often that the names of the jobs are given in English, though all employees are French speaking people, such as Management Consulting Advisor , Asset Management Director , etc These days, it's becoming more and more intrusive, like a cancer, I should say: even the Frenh acronyms are replaced by English ones: For example, most young people write "LOL" on their phone messages, instead of "MDR" mort de rire. And even grosser, it looks as if the world of universities itself began to consider that the French language is not serious enough for intellectual purpose!

What has become of the Sorbonne , that once enlightened the whole world?! Here, even the original name Bourgogne has been changed for Burgundy! Shouldn't that have been considered as a sign of treason? Yes, it should! So please, don't say that English has not become a fancy language in French, because saying that, you just show how blind you are! You'd better start struggling about this progressive invasion of the French language by the English one: we can admit the enrichment of French by English when it gives really new concepts hub, switch, week-end I'm siding with Teleporting Goat and I don't think there is an equivalent.

Greek and Latin could be it, but flaunting some classical knowledge is usually perceived as pedantic and show-off, so Greek and Latin don't quite work either, although they come close. English is not perceived as "classy" at all, but more as an unavoidable invader, IMHO. As a native French, I don't think you will achieve your objective by just replacing words by other ones.

As said before, French was the elite language all over Europe. My advice is : have a more-than-perfect syntax and grammar, don't use english words when french ones are available, don't use gross words. English language situation against the French one is somewhat unique, and was already considered as such years ago. I think there not is in all the world countries none that not hold to their own speech but England alone but well one knows for to understand both well it is for the more that a man knows the more worthy he is.

I'd say Latin and Greek words and phrases are the ones you're looking for, but they tend to sound scholarly or pedantic rather than just classy. Posh people in my imagination, cause I only know very few would just have a formal language, possibly with a few Latin expressions thrown in if they also belong to the previous categories. They'd pay close attention to their grammar, and use a slightly older form of French.

They'd avoid dropping the double-negation "Je ne sais pas" rather than the current, oral "chais pas".

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They'd use rare words on an everyday basis etc. Basically, they'd sound like we write. And now that I think about think, politicians' speeches sound that way. It's a very fine line between classy and pedantic however. And to be fair, the use of French words in English crosses that line for me. Podcast We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git.

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What languages are perceived as classy or fancy to French speakers? Ask Question.

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Asked 2 years, 9 months ago. Active 8 months ago. Viewed 15k times. If, after Aerovistae's able editing of the original question as above, the sense of the question is still unclear, I want to emphasize the fact that words like 'boutique' or 'au contraire' have a unique status in English in that they sound distinctly foreign and replace more ordinary words of the same meaning. In other words: Whatever may be the shortcomings of this question, it is not vague.

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Catomic Catomic 4, 2 2 gold badges 8 8 silver badges 22 22 bronze badges. I disagree with Aerovistae, using English words when not really needed is considered cool and trendy or of course ridiculous and too much if you don't like this , but not "classy" or "fancy" I think using German, like in philosophy or music, is more something like what you are talking about. I'm afraid this question might bring a lot of primarily opinion-based answers. And this not withstanding the fact that "classy" or "fancy" would need to be defined first, where would you draw the barrier with "pedantic", "educated", etc.

Why not rather discuss it chez Cosette. I would say Latin words I think the sense got edited out when Aerovisatae took sa main capable to the question.

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I was thinking of a poor French shopkeeper who would like to charge double for everything just by naming his shop a boutique , but can't. To all his customers, that only sounds like a shop. NathanCoustenoble I think you could be right, Latin was used by nobility in France, just like french in England.