It's no surprise that English is the universal language. It's undoubtedly one of the most useful languages to learn. The Paris métro is splattered with ads for English language schools. Parisian parents are always looking for anglophone nannies to speak English every day to their little Virginies and Charles-Henris. Japanese housewives brought to Paris by their husbands' jobs will sign up for English classes before learning French.
A few months ago, my husband's uncle was visiting France from Australia, where he's lived for the last 30 years. He says every time he comes back, he finds there's always more and more English words that have snuck into the French language- casual, every day English words that have no business being in a French conversation.
It is true the French use lots of English words, however incorrectly. They park their cars in the parking and keep their clothes in the dressing. If you're having cocktails with Angelina and Gwyneth, you're in a soirée people. Blow-drying your hair straight is a brushing and you dry clean your clothes at the pressing. My French mother-in-law is into scrapbooking. Does this have anything to do with the English language having five times more words than the French language does? I don't know where this all stems from but it seems the English language has got a hearty appetite and it's in the mood for French. It's as though English is nibbling at the French language word by word.
Take for example, this imagined conversation:
"Veronique, tu veux du chewing gum?"
"Non, merci. Comment c'est passé ton weekend?"
"Trop cool! On a fait du ski. C'était top."
"Faut que je fasses du sport. Ce soir je vais faire du jogging."
"Tiens, tu veux faire du shopping?"
"Volontiers! Ca serait super."
"Moi, je veux trouver un smoking pour mon copain. Celui qu'il a déjà, c'est un peu too much."
"T'as raison. Je suis pas très fan. Ca fait un peu fashion victim."
"Il faut qu'on y aille. Avec mon job, j'ai une journée assez speed."
"Allez! Let's go."
Looking into it, it's not as contemporary as it seems. Originally English words like révolution and gouvernement crept into French back in the times of the French Revolution. Since then, there have been efforts to preserve French and keep it pure, like laws forbidding state employess from using any other language than French in work communications. The Académie Française, the French language's #1 guardian and defender, requires that foreign themed restaurants have all items listed in French. It's impossible the French language would go in the same direction as Breton or Provençal, but there are people who who don't like English imposing its parking and pressing on French speaking.
But, for those people, let's not forget: C'est fashion parler anglais.