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The 11 French phrases you will need to be tech-savvy in France

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The 11 French phrases you will need to be tech-savvy in France

In an increasingly online world much of what we do on a daily basis involves IT, from reading The Local to filling in your annual tax declaration. So here is the vocab you need to be tech-savvy in France.


Helpfully, IT is one area where really quite a lot of English words have crept into the French language - to the occasional spasm of annoyance from French language guardians Academie française.

So if you're trying to conduct your business online or complain to your IT department that something isn't working, you will find a fair amount of familiar words.

But there are still plenty of French words you will need to know, so here's a selection of the basics.

Computer - un ordinateur. If you have a desktop computer, this is still what you call it, while a laptop is un ordinateur portable

However increasingly people are doing their browsing on other devices, including a tablet - une tablette - or smartphone. There is an official word for a phone that also hooks you up to the internet - un mobile multifonction - but in practice many French people (and businesses) use the word 'smartphone' or simply un portable on the basis that these days it's actually pretty hard to find a mobile phone that doesn't have some internet connectivity.

Internet - l'internet. The word for internet is the same and a website is un site web or sometimes just un site. If you want to send someone a link to a website that would be un lien.

France is pushing hard to boost its reputation as a destination for tech investment. Photo: AFP

Wifi - le wifi. One of the Acadamie française's more disastrous tech-related efforts was its attempt to get French people to say l'accès sans fil à internet to describe wireless internet access. Their directive was quietly ignored and instead everyone in France talks about le wifi (pronounced weefee). If you want the wifi password, that would be le code pour le wifi.

Email - un courriel. You will frequently hear French people talking about sending un mail for an email, but the correct term is un courriel and this is what you will see on official forms.

Downloadun téléchargement or if you're talking about the verb, it's télécharger.

Password - un mot de passe

Firewall - un parefeu (or sometimes un pare-feu). Important for your security, you will also hear this referred to as 'un firewall' from time to time.

App - une application, frequently shortened to une appli. A translation app (always a handy thing to have on your phone) is une appli de traduction.

Dating site - un site de rencontre. It's not all work online of course, if you're looking for love with the help of technology, you would head to un site de rencontre - click here for a guide to some of the best known French  dating sites.

Other fun pastimes include les jeux vidéo - online gaming - and les services de streaming - online streaming services such as Netflix. A warning though, inviting someone for une soirée de regarder Netflix et se détendre (an evening of Netflix and chill) might not get you the hookup you were expecting as the phrase hasn't really caught on in France.

READ ALSO The five best Netflix series to get you speaking French as the locals do

Subscribe - s'abonner. As more and more sites prefer the business model of providing high quality content and asking people to pay for it - rather than the model of the earlier days of the internet when almost everything was free but a lot of it was rubbish - you will increasing find French sites asking you to sign up. S'abonner is probably the most commonly used term, especially for news sites where some content will be marked abonnés - only available to subscribers. But you might also be asked to souscrire, inscrire or s'enregistrer - register.

Phishing - hammeçonnage. There is a French word for the technique of people who attempt to trick you into revealing private information (for example by sending an email purporting to be from your bank) but again the word phishing is also used quite frequently.




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