French language lovers have been irked by the use of English in the Paris 2024 slogan: “Made for Sharing”.
A motion will be filed at the Paris administrative court on Monday accusing the slogan of infringing a 1994 law aimed at protecting the French language, and also of being against the Olympic charter, lawyer Emmanuel Ludot told AFP.
In the motion, the collective has described the slogan as an “insult” to the French language.
Not only is it an insult, but it flies in the face of the fact that the official language of the Games is actually French.
One of the member associations is the French literary organisation the Academie Goncourt, whose president Bernard Pivot said: “Obviously, I find this slogan a mistake, an absurdity.
“Paris, the capital of the francophone world is bowing to the language not only of Shakespeare but also that of Donald Trump!”
It remains unclear exactly why the language enthusiasts have brought Trump into the mix, although it could have something to do with the new president's gobbledygook manner of speaking English.
In fact, Trump's “unique” vocabulary and style has been posing a particular problem for French translators already – should they smooth out the style, or leave it as it is for French readers to work out for themselves?
“Trump’s vocabulary is limited, his syntax is broken; he repeats the same phrases over and over, forcing the translator to follow suit” French translator Bérengère Viennot said in a recent interview.
As for the English slogan – Made For Sharing – there's nothing actually wrong with it, grammatically or stylistically (although the French language chiefs at the Académie Française were right to compare it to a pizza commercial).
It just seems that the argument over the slogan is just the latest in a long, long line of the French having a problem with the use of the English language.
French language expert Camille Chevalier Karfis who runs the website French Today says that a slogan in English seems like a faux-pas.
“French is one of the official languages of the Olympic Games. It's part of the French prestige, and something of which the French are quite proud,” she tells The Local.
“On the other hand, this controversy seems trivial for an event where the purpose is to promote peace and bring nations together. And let's be frank, French is not as widely spoken as it used to be: the language athletes use to communicate is English, more often than not. So an English slogan does make sense.”