Last week I wrote about the word animator, and how we don’t use it in a general sense in English. Reading about the word though, I did discover that English features the word animateur.

Identical to the French word for animator, in English it specifically refers to a musical professional whose role is to engage people in a form of music unfamiliar to them: to animate the music for them, i.e. bring it to life. Obviously it’s inspired by French, particularly the concept of animation socioculturelle, a general concept involving organising civic activities.

Of course we use the French spelling, as the word is directly inspired by the French concept. It’s funny in a way though, as the role of an animateur is often to make art seen as pretentious or inaccessible seem more down to earth. But there’s little more pretentious in English than using a French term, so it seems a little counterproductive.

Still though, it is a nice idea, and I’m starting to think that grammar animateur is a niche that could be filled…

3 thoughts on “Animateur

  1. I like it, these specialized words. They animate language itself, showing just how nuanced, flexible and descriptive it can be. Very much alive and changing.

    I’m Guyanese and the dialect, in my area at least, is straightforward and maybe 98% English vocab, with the other two borrowing from the Indian and African. But you might not recognize the English when you hear it.

    So I hesitate when I would talk about stuff like foreign (French, German, Japanese, etc) music, books, and words in general, because of the risk of sounding pretentious. However, I’m learning to treat it as a fear I’m willing to overcome. For at the same time I could be introducing that person to something new, and an interest they’d not have thought of pursuing otherwise. That’s a good thing, ja?

    I like the thought of grammar animateurs but I’m an amateur at this point and would be too shy to apply. Nice post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I feel similarly when I mention words from other languages: even if I’ve done my research and know a little about languages like French and Italian, I always worry a little that someone who knows a lot more than I do will see what I wrote and find mistakes.
      I’m always intrigued by forms of English which are influenced by other languages. It’s a little like that here in Ireland, but mostly our vocabulary is standard English, with some structures that come from the Irish language.


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