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

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Mon Jul 21 2003 - 01:48:00 EDT

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

    On Monday, July 21, 2003 2:01 AM, Michael Everson <> wrote:

    > At 19:56 -0400 2003-07-20, Patrick Andries wrote:
    > > Yahoo's title is obviously overblown ("sexed up" like the BBC says).
    > And isn't *that* the meme of the moment. One idiot said it and it
    > spread like a virus. Ick.
    > > Obviously, the AP has found someone to say it is artificial.
    > Of course, all language is artificial.

    What was really artificial (and what Yahoo reported confusingly) was the preiously adopted term "mél", which was opted by an official terminology group, without even asking at the French Academy for its extremely "bizarre" orthograph:

    - this was the single term using an accute accent before a vocalized ending consonnant, and its prononciation was really unique, in an attempt to create a specific orthograph from a slightly derived pronunciation of "mail", which would have just been written "mel" without any accent using the normal French orthograph

    - I will certainly not complain that the official terminology "mél" was abandonned: everybody approves it in France, as it was really stupid. This is exactly the artificial creation of "mél" which justified a reaction from native speakers to use the beautiful French Canadian term "courriel". In fact the bad term "mél" which looked like very uneducated, greatly contributed to help spread the Canadian term, which I use systematically since more than 5 years without any perceived confusion.

    This one decision of the official terminology group is not stupid: it adopts a term that is now spread among French and Canadian natives, uncluding journalists, speakers, publishers, ... So the real new decision is not to ban "e-mail" but the term "mél" that this terminology group created artificially years ago and was never accepted. Apparently Yahoo (or its A.P. journalist) was really badly informed when writing its paper, and exposed false arguments/reasons justifying the new decision...

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