EssorerPhoto: an earth-friendly alternative to tumble drying.

Today we are talking about Frenglish: Friend or Foe? List some of les mots franglais that you have encountered and tell us whether you are charmed--or alarmed!--by the mixing and mingling of languages. Share your thoughts in the comments box.

essorer (eh-so-ray) verb
  1. to wring out, twist; to air, to dry; to spin dry
  2. (old French) to soar

"Essorer, 'to mount' a term of falconry expressive of the action of the hawk when he wheels in the air or sails away with little perceptible motion in his outstretched wings and seems to be engaged in *drying* his pinions." from "Transactions of the Philological Society" -by Philological Society

Audio File (follows, after the story column & sponsor's message)


(The following story was posted two years ago.)

While clearing off the table after lunch, I handed my daughter a casserole with leftover gnocchi.* "Take this to the kitchen," I said, "and come back with the sponge, please." Moments later my daughter reappeared, holding in her hand a water-logged éponge.* "J'ai oublié de skwee-zay," she explained, in Frenglish.

"Skwee-zay? You forgot to skwee-zay?" I ask, teasing my nine-year-old before tackling the word imposter.
"Jackie, how do you say 'squeezed' in French?"
"I don't know," she admitted, to my surprise. Well, the French verb for "squeeze" wasn't exactly sitting on the tip of my tongue, legs swinging back and forth like there's no tomorrow, either.

I sat down for coffee with Jean-Marc, handing him a square of chocolate from a box marked "Croquant et Fondant, Chocolat Blanc".* If only French equivalents to English could rhyme as well... it would make the guessing game so much easier.

The white chocolate was rich with almonds, apricots and even nougat--making for a heady tasting experience. Perhaps that is why even Jean-Marc seemed at a loss to translate the French verb for "squeeze"....
"Presser," he offered, before asking for another thick square of chocolate.

That couldn't be right. While you can "press" an orange (and even a grape--as Jean-Marc should know) and while you can be "pressé" or pressed for time, you just don't go "pressing" sponges. At least not in English, where sponges are "squeezed".

"You don't 'press' a sponge," I countered, still at a loss to know the answer on my own. Jean-Marc returned his attention to the subject in time to offer another possibility: "essorer" (to twist dry). My husband doled out the verb with all the lackadaisical stewardship of someone born into a goldmine of French, never having experienced need for nouns, never having been voracious for a verb. And I collected that verb eagerly, hungrily--enviously--with all the desperation of a gold-digger...which is how I got the truth all mixed up. For, just like oranges, grapes, and busy Frenchmen, sponges are in fact most often pressed (pressé) in France (and not so much "twisted" or "essoré").

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Today's Topic: FRENGLISH : Friend or Foe?
List a few Frenglish or Franglais terms that you have encountered. Do you fancy the Frenglish word "skwee-zay", or are you a traditionalist, of the Académie française camp? Does Frangais amuse you... or undo you? Is languge something to get so worked up about, or should we be a little more laisser-faire with all the new terms swimming around out there? Let's talk, via the comments box.

.....................................French Vocabulary...........................
le gnocchi (m) = small potato dumpling; l'éponge (f) = sponge; croquant et fondant chocolat blanc = crunchy, melts-in-the-mouth white chocolate

Audio Clip:Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce the French word essorer and hear the following terms and expressions: Download Essorer2 . Download Essorer2

Terms & Expressions:
Machine à essorer = spin dryer
essorer la salade = to spin dry the salad
essorer la poignée = (motorcycle expression) "to twist the handle" = to get moving
faire essorer le linge = to dry the clothes
Ne pas essorer  (as seen on the care labels inside clothing) = Do not spin dry

In Gifts and Reading:
For drying salad (the old-fashioned, French way)

For drying salad (the new, modern way)

Just about every French household has one of these indoor folding racks. Try it!

A selection of French language magazines.

Verb conjugation:
j'essore, tu essores, il/elle essore, nous essorons, vous essorez, ils/elles
essorent ; past participle: essoré

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