Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Financial Franglais

Surprisingly, I haven't seen any comment on the fact that the jargon of options trading seems to be entirely franglais, indeed a sort of financial pidgin all its own: le trader, le middle-office, le back-office, les stock-options. Surely the eternal pourfendeurs of Anglo-Saxon neo-liberalism will want to seize on this linguistic proof that the barbarians are inside the walls. Curiously, however, the word for a financial debacle is krach, pronounced "crack" and obviously derived from German rather than from the English "crash," though the onomatopoeic origin is the same in all three languages:

OED: An onomatop{oe}ic word having the same relation to crack that clash has to clack and clap: see CLASH, DASH. There are possible associations also with crase, craze (though here the a has been long, and the s pronounced as z prob. from the 14th c.). The mod.Scandinavian langs. show Icel. krassa ‘perfricare, dilacerare’ (Haldors.), Sw. krasa, Da. krase to crackle, and the phrases Sw. slå i kras, Da. gå i kras to dash in pieces, break to shivers; but these are app. only analogous formations.

On the caste system that exists in the world des traders, see here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's a compendium of business franglais. Frightening!