The use of “tiers” for Third World seems strange - I have never hear anything that made me think that Third World was a fraction as opposed to

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David

Kwiziq community member

17 July 2018

3 replies

The use of “tiers” for Third World seems strange - I have never hear anything that made me think that Third World was a fraction as opposed to

an additional category after The West and the Eastern Bloc - and thus I would have thought “troisième”

This question relates to:
French lesson "Ordinal and cardinal numbers - differences between French and English usages"

Alan

Kwiziq community member

19 July 2018

19/07/18

Hi David,

I'm sure you're right that the "third" in "Third World" refers to an order rather than a fraction.

I think the reason that "tiers" is used is probably historical. Although "Third World" is a relatively recent term it was coined from the much older expression "Third Estate" - "le tiers-état".

I imagine at the time when that term was created the language was rather different and "tiers" could be used to mean 3rd in sequence.

 

David

Kwiziq community member

19 July 2018

19/07/18

Thank you - since a Frenchman coined the term, based on Third Estate, (at least per Wikipedia) - I can’t argue.  I’m learning that many things I have to accept don’t have such a clear basis - but I have to accept and learn them!

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

20 July 2018

20/07/18

Thank you Alan for this excellent answer.

I was discussing this question posed by David with some French people yesterday as I have to admit I had never asked myself since in my mind it only designates a status and I learnt that there is another term 'le quart-monde'.

After a bit of research it appears that 'le quart-monde' was coined in 1969 to designate people under the threshold of poverty. It is wonderful to learn something new. If you are interested, take a peak at:

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quart-monde

all in French I am afraid but good practice.

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