A common theme in the LFWW debates, from an unabashedly English point of view, is the process of the Anglicisation of French words and place-names. After attempts from a number of directions, we find it is possible to spell Anglicisation with an ‘s’ without sparking off red lines, but it has taken a while. Eric Partridge, writing Chambers of Horrors (1952) as ‘Vigilans’ (but unashamedly writing an introduction to the book under his own name), offers ‘–ize or, in a few verbs, -ise (see Modern English Usage at –ISE).’ The second edition (1983 printing) of that volume’s entry begins ‘1. On the general question of the spelling of verbs ending in the sound īz, see –IZE, -ISE.’ This states that ‘the ultimate source of the ending is the Greek –izo’, and that ‘most English printers, taking their cue from Kent in King Lear … [‘whoreson zed’ etc.] follow the French practice of changing –ize to ise. But the Oxford University Press, the Cambridge University Press, The Times, and American usage, in all of which –ize is the accepted form, carry authority enough to outweigh superior numbers.’


Fair enough, and that might be it. But perhaps worth checking in the other direction, as not only were there many anglicizations during the war, there were many English words and phrases adopted by French speakers, which are francizations – or, in French francisations – also known as Gallicisms, though a Gallicism is defined by the OED as ‘An idiom or mode of expression belonging to the French language, esp. one used by a speaker or writer in some other language’, rather than ‘An idiom or mode of expression belonging to some other language, used by a speaker or writer in the French language’. See below for Noah Webster’s views on these (1852 edition); Webster’s ‘render conformable to the French idiom or language’ for ‘Gallicize’ is rather more formal than the OED’s ‘To render French-like; to Frenchify’.





‘Frenchify’ carries a bit of a sense of the disparaging, the idea that ‘Frenchness’ is something that can be added with the simplicity of a spoonful of salad-dressing or a bit of lace. There is also the corresponding word ‘Anglify’, which carries no such connotations. I wish I had not looked up ‘Frenchified’ in Partridge’s Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English; but the damage is done. ‘Infected with VD’. Partridge doesn’t have an ‘Anglify’ (but the eye alights on ‘Angry Cat’, an anglicisation of the name of the French battleship in the Dardanelles, the Henri IV). The question of whether these words get upper or lower case ‘a’ and ‘f’ is a whole other business, avoided by both Fowler’s Modern English Usage and Partridge in Usage and Abusage; it probably comes down to taste and aesthetics, just as Partridge castigates ‘cannibalize’ and ‘deinsectisize’ ‘on account of the particular horror (the formation in –ize) than on that of the general ugliness or unsuitability or unnecessariness of the words as a whole’.


Partridge reckoned that ‘hospitalize’ ‘may have originated in the combatant services’, but it was around in a civilian context in 1901; no doubt the increase in officialese and hospitalization familiarized people with it.





As the Call for Papers is echoed by the Acceptance of Submissions, we can now offer a draft list of just some of the confirmed papers for the conference:


London, 10 September


Mark Connelly, Professor of History, University of Kent – Remembering and directing: the language of British battlefield guidebooks, 1919-1939′


Amanda Laugesen, Director, Australian National Dictionary Centre – War words and the evolution of Australian remembrance of the Great War, 1919-1939


Chris Kempshall, University of Sussex – Insults between the entente powers at the end of the war


Professor Nevena Dakovic, Dept. of History and Theory, FDA/UoA, Belgrade  – Multimedia language of the great war: Stanislav Krakov


Dr Anne Samson, The Great War in Africa Association – Language in the East Africa Campaign, 1914-1918


Brussels, 12 September


Marguerite Helmers, Professor of English, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh – The rhetoric of avoidance


Luc Vandeweyer, Belgian National Archives – The role of the language border in Belgium in the expansionist plans of the German occupier


Javier Alcalde, University of Barcelona – Esperanto during the First World War


Harun Buljina, Columbia University – Bosnia’s Polyglot Pan-Islamists between Empire and Nation State, 1914-1920


Miguel Brandão, Faculty of Arts of Porto – Humour in Portuguese newspapers  (1914-1918); what could war-related humour tell us about the Great War?



Booking is now open



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