Why talk about jugs and crimps when you can use the words bucket and crimps to refer to holds? Why brag about a great toe hook when you can argue a counterpoint?
The OQLF began working on a lexicon of climbing terms in anticipation of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Climbing was making its debut there, and Radio-Canada commentators and analysts needed a nomenclature in French.
“It was not difficult, the documentation was abundant, in particular because of the long tradition of French climbing, explains Maxime Lambert, linguistic adviser at the OQLF. Many reference books have been written over the years. »
The Fédération québécoise de la montagne et de l’escalade (FQME) also collaborated on the project.
In the majority of cases, the French terms already existed to designate climbing equipment and techniques. However, the OQLF has proposed a few neologisms, in particular to designate training equipment of relatively recent origin, such as the pegboard, a small perforated wall that the climber must climb with rods that he must insert into the perforations. .
The Office also proposed a very poetic term, ruse, to translate the concept of beta break. This is a sequence of movements which was not planned by the route setter and which does not correspond to the usual method for climbing a given segment.
“It can be for several different reasons, reasons of size, flexibility, creativity, indicates Matthieu Des Rochers, sports director at the FQME. It is a question of appealing to one’s strengths, to one’s personal resources. »
Many women resort to trickery to pass routes because they are smaller than those who designed them or who usually pass them.
“Our great climbers, like Annie Chouinard and Émilie Pellerin, use incredible ingenuity and skills when it comes to doing a famously difficult sequence made by men, underlines Mr. Des Rochers. It shows how talented they are. »
The lexicon recommends certain terms, but sometimes allows the use of other expressions. This is how the OQLF suggests translating the word crux (the most difficult passage of a route) by key passage. But we can continue to use crux without problem “because it is legitimized in French in Quebec and elsewhere in Francophonie”.
Maxime Lambert, of the OQLF, is himself a fan of bouldering. He makes a point of using French terminology, but he admits that sometimes it raises eyebrows among his climbing partners.
The lolotte is the French equivalent of drop knee: it is a position which consists of rotating the hips to place the foot on the outside edge and direct the knee downward.
“It’s a word that is widely used among our French cousins,” says Matthieu Des Rochers. This is definitely the funniest word in terminology. »
The OQLF has prepared glossaries mainly for competitive sports. This does not mean that there cannot be a nomenclature for other types of physical activity, especially in the field of the outdoors.
“Our choices are made according to several methods,” says Francis Pedneault, linguistic production coordinator at the OQLF. We have a main collaborator who is Radio-Canada, but the choices are also made based on requests from members of the public, the emails we receive. This is how we had a request for a vocabulary for yoga and a CEGEP asked us to create one for functional sports training, CrossFit. »
For Matthieu Des Rochers, the promotion of the French language can find its place alongside the other values of the FQME, such as environmental protection, accessibility and equity.
“It would be nice if we kept trying, using words like lolotte,” he says. If it makes us laugh, so much the better. The important thing is to be able to talk about what you like in French. »
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