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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Macron urged to protect French language from ‘tyranny’ of English

President Emmanuel Macron has been called on to protect the French language from the 'tyranny' of English and to set an example for the Francophone world in yet another battle over the influx of Anglo-American words.

Macron urged to protect French language from 'tyranny' of English
The battle to protect the French language from the influence of English is a well-documented one. 
 
An open letter published in Le Parisien on Monday, written by French language collective (Le collectif Langue française), and signed by 100 signatories, urged the French president to protect the French language in what is just the latest attempt to stop the increasing use of English words in France and other Francophone countries.
 
“The French language is in a bad state. Stifled by the influence of British and American English, French is being ousted,” the letter states. 
 
It goes on to ask the head of state to set an example, including by choosing not to use English abroad, and not using English in France in order to discourage visitors from using a language that has been 'deserted' by the country.  
 
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13 English tech terms France wants outlawedPhoto: Toni Blay/Flickr

The letter states that it is up to Macron to “interrupt the suicidal march” towards making English the second official language of France. 

Macron is known for speaking fluent English and has given speeches, and interviews to the foreign press in English. 

This sets him apart from his predecessors. For example Francois Hollande, who was mocked in 2012 when he wrote to US President Barack Obama to congratulate him on his re-election and signed off with the words, “Friendly, Francois Hollande.

Meanwhile the French language guardians have been fighting a long-running battle to rid France of the influx of English words, especially in the realm of technology, although this has been hard and, some would argue, futile. 

One of the words which particularly raised their hackles is “smartphone”, which they attempted to replace with the not-so catchy “mobile multifonction” back in January 2018. 
 
The body known as the Commission d'enrichissement de la langue française, which works alongside the famously proud and often grouchy Academie Française, urged French speakers to use the word “mobile multifonction” instead. 
 
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Photo: AFP
 
Thankfully they were happy for French speakers to use the shortened version “mobile” however it is still rare to hear this used instead of “smartphone”.
 
Before pushing the use of “mobile multifonction”, the commission had previously successfully trying to launch the terms “ordiphone” and “terminal de poche”.
 
In 2017, 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.
 
Nevertheless the fight is not over, with the letter in today's Parisien highlighting what's at stake. 
 

“It's about our national identity and the future of Francophone countries,” it said.
 
French words to know (according to French language guardians)
 
Smartphone – un mobile multifonction
Email  – un courriel
Hashtag – un mot-dièse
Spam – arrosage 
 

Member comments

  1. Perhaps these deadbeats should realise that a language is a living thing and is always evolving. They can try to change English terms into French but they are wasting their time as the young will always use the English term because it’s what they come across whilst on the web and what their friends use.

  2. This is such a non-issue. It is French people themselves who add English words to their own language (often they aren’t even used in that way in English…)
    For example: a camping, a parking, a brushing (and so many others). I mean in France ‘YESSss’ means I’ve succeeded or ‘sweet’. It never means ‘oui’.

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EMMANUEL MACRON

Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

French president Emmanuel Macron will make a live TV broadcast to the nation about the war in Ukraine.

Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

Macron will be on TV on Wednesday at 8pm, the Elysée confirmed earlier on Wednesday.

Macron also tweeted the announcement, saying that his speech will be on the subject of the war in Ukraine.

His office added that the president’s speech “will not touch on other matters” – Macron has only until Friday to confirm whether or not he is running for re-election.

It is widely considered to be extremely unlikely that he would not stand in the April elections, but all candidates have until Friday, March 4th, to make their declaration.

Macron’s team had previously announced a rally in Marseille on Saturday, March 5th, which was expected to be the first official campaign event, but on Tuesday this was cancelled because of the ongoing international crisis.

Macron was at the forefront of international efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, and since Russia invaded Ukraine he has remained in close contact with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and has also spoken – at the request of Zelensky – to Russian premier Vladimir Putin.

 
The Local will be following Macron’s speech live from 8pm HERE.
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