This question came about in a discussion between myself and another user of the Gaming.SE chat after I linked in this chiptune track called
An Eskimeau Experience

Here is the gist of the discussion:

It's either Eskimo or Esquimaux. Not a portmanteau of both.

"Eskimeau" is a portmanteau of two of the different spellings. It's half English, half French. That's like calling something a biscookie.

So it's wrong, and I want to know the name of the 'mistake' (or stylistic device, if you prefer)

I thought there was a specific name for a portmanteau of two alternative spellings...

This probably isn't very clear, so I suggest you check out the link below, which will take you to the transcript of the original discussion.

Original chat transcript

  • 6
    Maybe a spellmanteau?
    – F'x
    Feb 17, 2011 at 13:45
  • 1
    Way to make me look really pedantic there. Anyway, I was just wondering whether there was a word for the specific case where it involves two separate spellings. (This is also the second time I've inspired a question on this site)
    – Arda Xi
    Feb 17, 2011 at 15:57

3 Answers 3


I'd call it "franglais" (the contraction of "français" and "anglais"), as juxtapositions of these two languages (French and English) typically carry that term.

Another suggestion would be "french anglicism", as the French call an English word, spelling, or pronunciation that is lent into another language "un anglicisme" (French wiképedia link). An example of this in French would be the common usage of the term "e-mail" before (and after) the introduction of its French equivalent, "courriel". This seems to be an example of the reverse (French to English instead of English to French) occurring, hence the suggested name. If you're looking to make a portmanteau of "french anglicism", I'd suggest "franglicism".

If not that, I suggest "word cocktail".

  • 2
    Franglais actually refers to a form of French that uses words borrowed from English; it doesn't refer to English words that is borrowed from French, or that is written similarly to the French word it derives from.
    – apaderno
    Feb 17, 2011 at 15:39
  • @kiamlaluno I agree, therefore I also suggest "french anglicism" as an example of French pervading into English instead of the reverse, which is more often the case.
    – Zoot
    Feb 17, 2011 at 15:51

I think you'd call it "spelling mistake".

The error likely comes from the fact that "Esquimaux" is always plural as in "of the Esquimaux", where the singular would then be "Esquimeau" (which is not used). Eskimeau is just a spelling mistake - there's no need to assume that the artist was deliberately trying to fuse the english "k" spelling with the french singular ending.

+1 for Franglais though. We use that all the time round here, estie.

  • So it is not possible to refer to a single individual without the use of the plural form?
    – horatio
    Feb 17, 2011 at 15:16
  • I don't get the impression that he was likely to make that kind of mistake from his site, but I suppose it's possible. For reference: timbral.dhs.nu Feb 17, 2011 at 15:25
  • Wouldn't the singular be esquimau?
    – psmears
    Jul 9, 2011 at 19:33

I think you should probably just call it a portmanto or a portmanteaux.


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