GC201411833 Art. Hybrid lexical use in french corporate discourse

Type d'édition : Papier
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The paper aims to explore the nature and extent of English-based lexis, especially loanwords and calques, and other neologisms in contemporary French corporate discourse (e.g. pitcher, forwarder, conf call, paperboard, N+1, être force de proposition), which have been defined as managerial newspeak and wording, and to investigate the reactions this type of French provokes from members and non-members of this discourse community. The exploratory mixed-method approach used is empirically data-driven and exploits a lexicological/word-formational analysis. The first phase of the research was quantitative, involving a questionnaire sent to business school students working as ‘apprentices’ in French companies; this sought to identify and categorize the different types of novel lexis employed in French corporate discourse in order to create a taxonomy of the various categories of terms encountered. Lexical expressions selected from the 450 linguistic tokens in the questionnaire data, along with an email written in this style of ‘French’ and posted on the Internet, containing lexical items from various word-formational categories, were used as prompt documents in the qualitative phase of the research. A taxonomy of different kinds of borrowings and neologisms is proposed and reactions to a selection of the hybrid lexical terms are outlined, from members of the business community and from ‘outsiders’. The relevance of this research for teachers and students of French, English and Business Communication as well as for business professionals is also considered.

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