It may be still be too blue for English speakers, but authorities in Canada have ruled that the F-word is no longer taboo on French language broadcasts as its use is so commonplace.
The Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council (CBSC) had previously classified the word as being suitable only for adults in both French and English, banning its use on radio and television to beyond the evening watershed and even then, only with a warning.
But after complaints from listeners that the French-language Montreal radio station CKOI-FM had twice aired clips with the word this year, it changed its mind in a ruling released Wednesday.
The CBSC agreed with the station's argument that the F-word was now “part of the common French spoken language” and therefore does not have “the same vulgar connotations when used in French.”
France's notorious language police at the Academie Française might have something to say about that however. They never take kindly to the creeping invasion of English into the French language.
“The (CBSC) panel emphasizes, in this regard, that language is evolutionary and reflects current society,” it said in its decision.
In the first clip, the singer Madonna could be heard swearing during a women's march against US President Donald Trump. In the second, Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong could be heard saying it in a concert excerpt.
Anyone who has spent time with French people, particularly younger ones will have realized just how popular the F-word is among them.
And in a sign of how banal it seems in French, it has even been used in newspaper headlines (see below) and in the title of TV shows in France.