Expressions That Come and Go

In French, the verb composer has pretty well the same meanings as the verb “to compose” in English. Recently, however, I’ve been hearing francophones use composer something along the lines of “to improvise in view of changed circumstances.” For instance, on a TV interview, the guest might mention that she got divorced this year yet, at the same time, has had more gigs than in previous years, thus “Je dois composer avec ça” — “I must ‘compose’ with that.”

It’s not that I dislike this turn of phrase. It’s just that I hear it all the time these days on Radio-Canada. I’m the kind of guy who notices such things, and I’m pretty sure it’s being said more often than before, particulary among Canadian French speakers. I wonder if it’s just a fad or if it’s here to stay.