“French say ‘non’ to the term hashtag in battle to stop English words violating their language:
The French Government has banned the Twitter term ‘hashtag’ from all official documents in their latest bid to ban a torrent of English words invading their language.
The Government’s powerful Académie française has decreed that the French word ‘mot-dièse’ must be spoken when the ‘#’ symbol appears in print.
Teachers have been told to urge schoolchildren to use the term, and the media has also been asked to avoid using the English word.
The outlawing of ‘hashtag’ is the latest in a flood of orders from the Académie, the state body appointed to protect the French language.
The French culture ministry recently put up a huge list of English words on its website which it said had slipped into common French usage and should be banned.
These included ’email’, ‘blog’, ‘supermodel’, ‘take-away’, ‘chewing gum’, ‘parking’, ‘weekend’ and ‘low-cost airline’.
Now the Goverment’s Official Journal, which publishes new laws and decrees, wrote this week: ‘The English term hashtag should wherever possible be replaced with the French term “mot-dièse”.’ The plural is mots-diese.
But critics swiftly pointed out that the two words are technically different, with the English hashtag symbol leaning to the right and denoting an abbreviation for ‘number’, equivalent to ‘no.’,
while the ‘dièse’ – the French term for the ‘sharp’ sign used in music – is vertical.
Users of Twitter took to the site to air their views. Some complained that you can’t hashtag mot-dièse because it contains a hyphen. Another noted the news with the mocking hashtag #fightingalosingbattle.
Critics charged if a French word must be found for the contentious symbol, then it should be ‘croisillon’ (meaning cross-piece or lattice) rather than a dièse (sharp sign). Several users tried to generate momentum for their campaign using the hashtag (sorry, mot-dièse) #teamcroisillon.
The hashtag is just one foreign invasion l’Académie is wishing to see off. Even such obscure terms as ‘shadow-boxing’, ‘detachable motor caravan’ and ‘multifunctional industrial building’ were blacklisted over 65 pages of forbidden vocabulary on the Journal’s website.
Scientists were told to no longer refer to ‘serial analysis of gene expression’ and ‘suppression subtractive hybridisation’.
And television sports commentators are being advised to stop using the word ‘coach’ or ‘corner’ for football matches. They should instead say ‘entraineur’ and ‘coup de pied de coin’.
The French Government commissioned a report into English usage two years ago, which warned that the global domination of Anglo-Saxon culture had plunged the future of the French language into a ‘deep crisis’.
The report said: ‘English-speakers have a vision of the so-called English-speaking world, but an equivalent concept does not seem to exist in France.
‘Despite having 200 million French-speakers on earth, the idea of a French-speaking world is becoming obsolete.
‘France is failing to promote its own language, and there seems to be very little interest in doing so.”
DO YOU AGREE THAT FRENCH IS BECOMING OBSOLETE?