Swag? What the swag?

The good thing about living abroad is that you have the opportunity to learn a new language or sharpen your academic language skills. The bad thing is, after a certain laps of time, your primary language rusts and you feel like you are losing its command.

Ice cream "frais"

A more disturbing fact is that the language keeps evolving while you are not in direct contact with it. Cheeky, innit? And then, one day, you read some Facebook status or have an innocent conversation where an unknown word comes up making you wonder what the author meant! Quite upsetting.

That happened to me with the rise of the word “swag” on Facebook, which meaning I could hardly guess in comments such as “trop swag”. Kids nowadays… I had a similar experience when I heard that whatever we were talking about was “frais“. I believe we were talking about a song and I found it amusing that it could be refreshing, chilly even. Music rarely has that effect on me. After short pondering, I realised it was a translated form of “cool”, which as far as I knew had always been “cool” even in French.

These are only occurrences I am aware of, but I must wonder: how many of these have I missed?


About John Barré

English & German into French translator. Interested in languages, literature, video games, localisation & translation - among many other topics.
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