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French word of the day: Panthéonisation

French word of the day: Panthéonisation
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
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Why do I need to know panthéonisation?

Because it will help you understand how France constructs its national image.

What does it mean?

Just as in English, the suffix -isation in French is used to describe a whole host of processes, new and old, from the creeping influence of the English language (anglicisation), to the gig economy (Ubérisation).

La panthéonisation refers to the act of transferring somebody’s remains to the Panthéon, in the Latin Quarter of Paris.

The Pantheon’s crypt is where French “national heroes” like Victor Hugo and Simone Veil are buried, and it forms an important part of France’s national mythology.

READ ALSO Grammar, gender and graves: Five things to know about the Panthéon

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Only the President has the power to order the panthéonisation of a particular important figure.

The government recently announced the panthéonisation of Josephine Baker, who will be inducted into the monument in November 2021.

There is also a verb – panthéoniser – which means “to induct [somebody] into the Panthéon”.

It is however possible to be commemorated in the Panthéon, and thus panthéonisé, without being buried there.

Use it like this

La panthéonisation est un ritual très codifié – Inducting someone into the Pantheon is a very codified ritual

Il y a eu une pétition en faveur de la panthéonisation de Josephine Baker – There was a petition in favour of moving Joséphine Baker’s remains to the Pantheon

L’écrivain français Maurice Genevoix a été panthéonisé en 2020 – French writer Maurice Genevoix was inducted into the Pantheon in 2020


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