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Thread: France repels English invasion

  1. #1
    Old Fart
    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    France repels English invasion

    Talk about being "petty" ....it seems France objects to having their language "polluted" by english words. This HAS to be related to the "freedom fries" crap from months past.

    The Culture Ministry has announced a ban on the use of "e-mail" in all government ministries, documents, publications or websites, the latest step to stem an incursion of English words into the French lexicon.
    Government regulated CULTURE????

    I'm starting to think that escargot (sp?) causes brain damage.
    It isn't paranoia when you KNOW they're out to get you...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Interesting discussion

    While I can understand the reasoning behind it (more about that later), 'banning' the word is kinda far-fetched...
    A language 'mirrors' a culture - culture changes, language changes. Trying to stop that is a lost case. If people feel comfortable saying a certain word, that word *will* be used. There are more than enough cases where a certain word is made up, and years later it ends up in the dictionary.
    A dictionary/thesaurus is what makes a language 'official'. In the case of France, the word 'e-mail' is probably not (yet) in the dictionary (it is in Belgium, but got only added a couple of years ago). I can understand governments demanding their own personnel to use 'official' words: it encourages uniformism, which is always good when it comes to 'official' documents imo. The word 'courriel' isn't in the French dictionary, either. Untill now, either the long 'courrier electronique', or the English 'e-mail' is used (knowing the French, I'm pretty sure that the claim that 'courrier electronique' is used by more Frenchmen than 'e-mail' is true... afaik, the French are the only one not calling a computer a computer :/ - they call it micro-ordinateur). Since e-mail has become a 'real' part of (French) culture, there is a need for a word to 'uniformally' describe it. In comes 'courriel'. And I think it's up to the French people (and not the government) to decide what word they want to use. If everybody uses 'courriel', it should be added to the dictionary, making it official. If everybody uses 'e-mail', then it should be 'e-mail'. But banning the word? Culture, not a government, makes a language.

    And about the language-'pollution'... Do native English speakers feel like their language is polluted because the word 'apartheid' (a South-African word) is in their dictionary? Or aardvark? Or all the Latin-based words? I don't think so... it's part of the culture.
    E-mail is part of our culture, too.

  3. #3
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Have either of you heard of Quebec? It has a language law that stipulates size of english language must be smaller than french and that there be no English sides outside a store. If a government thinks a culture is threatened they may do something about it.

    Interestingly enough, while Quebec has really only started this recently to protect their "culture" the Acadians of the East Coast Canada and USA have kept their culture/language for over 350 years without any support by government.

    Perhaps a lesson there.
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