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Provence & Côte d’Azur: France falls to last place in Europe:

Europe as whole may be moving towards better English language proficiency, but France is on an entirely different trajectory, says Education First. The latest figures from the international education organisation have revealed a trend of steadily declining skills in English among the French, with countries such as China, Russia and neighbour Italy moving ahead of the population when it comes to the anglophone mother tongue.

Education First’s 2013 report blamed cultural and educational factors for France’s poor rating

Over the last 12 months, Education First has complied information on 60 countries worldwide. Interviewing some 750,000 adults and matching the data with statistics from the previous five years, the study highlights the evolution of English language proficiency through balancing up the impact of English among national workforces and economic outlook.

France has come a lowly 35th place, with neighbouring nations Belgium (13th), Germany (14th), Switzerland (16th), Spain (23rd) and Italy (32nd) surpassing the country in terms of English language abilities.

The French nation was given a ‘low proficiency’ marker and a 50.53 score, dropping 2.63 points on the figures from 2012. Education First says, “While the rest of Europe is already proficient in English or steadily working towards that goal, France is on an entirely different trajectory. France currently has the weakest English skills in Europe.”

The study, released on 5th November, has pointed the finger at a range cultural and education related factors, saying, “In France, English is still often seen as a threat to French.” Low exposure to English in the media and the school system were both blamed by the study and its respondents.

Elsewhere in the report, eastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary and Slovenia have witnessed a surge in English language proficiency over the last year, with all three making it into the top 10.

Turkey saw the biggest improvement, but remained in the lower echelons of territories included in the study (41th). An additional seven nations joined the ranking table in the 2013 report: Estonia (4th), Slovenia (10th), Latvia (15th), Ukraine (27th), Sri Lanka (30th), Jordan (50th), and Iraq (60th).

Source/Credit: Elsa Carpenter for The Riviera Times

NEW: ENGLISH LESSONS FOR THE FRENCH ON SNCF TRAINS

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New Language Law = FR-exting?

The following is in followup to my previous post about French language laws, in order to prevent the increasing intrusion of English-isms.

There was an article in the Le Figaro (online version) concerning text messaging (sending and receiving SMS) within France;  it refers to the use of all languages other than French when texting.

“As of Friday, April 5th, the new law dictates that a maximum of 12% of all SMS traffic within the French telecommunications system in foreign languages will be allowed (Loi 2872bis, Décret 842a, 18 Mars 2013, Loi concernant l’utilisation des langues étrangères dans les télécommunications).  Apparently, expressions such as ‘le weekend’, ‘le parking’, ‘bye bye’, ‘email’ and ‘ciao,’ that have become firmly implanted in the French vocabulary, are targeted.  In addition, for ‘email’ the French equivalent ‘courriel’ is now expected.

The most worrying part of the new law is the fact that once daily quotas are full, texts in entirely (or partly) foreign language and even using a single non-French word will be blocked.

A member of the French parliament has followed this up by proposing that all websites based in France must now contain a minimum of 33.3% French language content! Plus, all foreign language sites must offer the possibility of full availability in French.  He has also suggested that chat rooms and other facilities have limits similar to the mobile telephone regulations. It remains to be seen if this becomes law as well.”

En principe, I understand the desire to maintain French heritage and culture, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out en réalité!

(Source: Le Figaro)

French…Fried with a Side of English

“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.

Non, non, non: these English-speaking Twitter users are unimpressed with l’Academie’s solution

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.

Seat of power: l’Academie exists to preserve the purity of the French language and has also resisted words such as ‘take-away’ and ‘weekend’

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.

La resistance! Another faction calls for the word ‘croisillon’ to be used instead of ‘mot-diese’

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?

Dailymail.co.uk

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk