Re: [OT] French Government Bans the Term 'E-Mail'

From: Patrick Andries (
Date: Sun Jul 20 2003 - 19:56:01 EDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: [OT] French Government Bans the Term 'E-Mail'"

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Michael Everson" <>

    > Off-topic, but interesting. This just crossed my desk....

    Yahoo's title is obviously overblown ("sexed up" like the BBC says). The
    word is not banned, the governement simply decided to use in its own texts
    another term (viz. « courriel ») without imposing this decision upon anyone

    Obviously, the AP has found someone to say it is artificial. Actually, a
    study made by the Quebec linguist Marie-Éva de Villers(*) shows that
    newspapers (like Le Monde) in France as in Québec tend to use more and more
    the term now preferred by the French government.

    In the same vein, the Times of London (**) had a sarcastic article, of
    course, describing the quixotic efforts of pigheaded Frenchmen to use French
    words to describe modern concepts. How quaint ! Needless to say, this
    article caused many a Gallic roar of laughter on French terminology lists.
    More particularly because the articles contains several factual errors
    (hacker is not translated by fouineur, but a series of other terms like
    pirate, casseur, mordu, etc., computer is used less and less and ordinateur
    or ordi are firmly established).

    More seriously, it is interesting to note that this must be one of the first
    times that a modern computer term coined in Quebec (or at least mainly used
    in Quebec) is accepted by an official body in France. In Quebec, the term is
    used systematically in books, documentation and advertising.

    P. A.

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