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Ciao Maria
I was reading an article about Italians who use English words in their language and it suggest that someone might "fare una figura da francesi".

What does this mean?  Does it mean they'll sound like they're speaking a foreign language/gobbledegook?

Grazie
Robin

Answer
Hello,

I think that you are referring to an article by Beppe Severgnini who uses the expression “fare una figura da francesi” to say that we Italians must not do like the French that, because of a mistaken sense of patriotism, use to translate literally some English terms such as “computer”, “homepage”, “mouse”, and then  say “ordinateur”, “page d’accueil” and “souris” respectively, though these French words sound strange in computer language.

In short, in his article Beppe Severgnini  encourages the Italians to use  Italian words when it is possible without being ridiculous, and then say  for example “salvaschermo” instead of “screen saver”, “navigazione” instead of “surfing”, “pettegolezzi” instead of “gossip”, “lavoro” instead of “job”, “compere/acquisti” instead of “shopping”, etc.

On the other hand he says that it would be very strange to translate English terms such as “computer”, “homepage”, “mouse”, “film”, “sport” that have become an integral part of modern Italian language by now.

To conclude, “fare una figura da francesi” does not mean that "they'll  sound like they're speaking a foreign language/gobbledygook", but it means “to behave like the French”  who want to use their language  at all costs, even if  the literal translation of  some foreign terms can sound quite strange.

Spero sia tutto chiaro

Cordiali saluti.

Maria

Italian Language

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Maria

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Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D.in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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