French told not to say 'smartphone' in ongoing battle against English

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French told not to say 'smartphone' in ongoing battle against English

French language guardians are attempting to rid France of the word "smartphone" in their ongoing battle against English tech terms. But will "mobile multifonction" really catch on?


The guardians of the French language have had their say once again.

Their battle against the influx of English words, especially in the realm of technology has long been hard and some would say futile.

After banishing the likes of "email", "hashtag" and "dark web", to much hilarity -- and without much success it must be said -- they have now turned their attention to the "smartphone".

The body known as the Commission d'enrichissement de la langue française, which works alongside the famously proud and often grouchy Academie Française, is urging French speakers to use the word "mobile multifonction" instead. 

Thankfully they are happy for French speakers to use the shortened version "mobile" if we so choose. It's just the latest attempt by the commission to come up with a term to rival "smartphone" after unsuccessfully trying to launch the terms "ordiphone" and "terminal de poche" in the past.


The recommendation was made as part of a new list of preferred French words and terms published in the Journal Officiel this week. The chosen terms were apparently the result of long discussions with language experts and are aimed at making them more accessible to professionals as well as the general public.

As well as being urged to ditch "smartphone", the French were also told they shouldn't use the word "smart TV" either. Instead they should say "Televiseur connecté".

Some new terms are just translations from the English versions so the French should have no excuse not to use them. For example "net neutrality" should be "neutralité de l'internet".

Last year the commission of language enrichment ruled against using English words such as "gamer", "fake news" and "dark web".

Instead the French were told to use "joueur", "internet clandestin" and a completely new word "infox" for fake news. Although it doesn't appear to have taken off, with the term "faux info" still far more common.

The link below reveals a longer list of English term terms the French have tried to outlaw in recent years, with varying rates of success.

READ ALSO: 13 English tech terms the French have Frenchified














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