French language notes: le jogging

Le jogging leads the way in runner’s repertoire

20 June 2020
By Connexion Journalist

Unless you live in Paris, or some neighbouring areas such as Hauts-de-Seine, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise and Seine-et-Marne where the practice during daytime hours is outlawed, the sight of people out jogging in France as part of their authorised daily exercise time has noticeably increased since social distancing and confinement began. From regular proponents pounding the trottoirs as usual, to arriviste runners who view endless free time as the ideal excuse to escape the house and get in shape, France has never seen so much public exercise.

But the word ‘jogging’ is something of a relatively recent arriviste too, in terms of widespread use in the French language. Back in 1976 (on February 9 to be precise), “jogging” appeared in the newspaper Le Monde, in an article about the slow creep of ‘franglais’ (or ‘Frenglish’ if you prefer) into mainstream vernacular.

Today, Anglicisms are a big part of the runner’s repertoire – and the 100% French le footing (coined in the 1980s) has been left behind by younger runners. Another word used in French is le running – though this implies a more disciplined, pacy and often competitive form of exercise than the more languorous, perhaps less exhausting ‘Sunday’ connotation of le jogging. The word le running picked up speed in France in the 2000s.

According to a 2013 survey, jogging is the fifth most popular sporting past-time in France after walking/hiking, pétanque, swimming and cycling, with more than a third of the roughly six million regular runners aged over 50.

Finally, to add social benefits to your social distancing, try plogging – a combination of jogging and picking up litter. Just be ready to run from the police...

Read more: French language notes - 'quarantaine'

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