Today, lets talk about the decision by the French government
to ban the use of the word "e-mail".
Here's the deal. Like Quebec has been doing with all English words for a long time, the French have a history of inventing their own neologisms, but mostly for technology-related words. Since we're not known for being a tech-savvy nation, we figured we might as well come up with our own name for other people's inventions so we could pretend we had something to do with it:(un) ordinateur
= a computer(un) octet
= a byte(un) télécopieur
= a fax machine
And it worked, these words now being widely used. In 97-98, when the Internet started to gain momentum (yes, we have Internet in France...it came just a few years after we first got electricity and automobiles), the Académie Française
fought back and started introducing more and more new words to instantly replace their English counterparts:(un) mel
= an e-mail(un) butineur
= a browser
and many more
, all very funny if you ask me. Even Internet was translated into "la toile
" (the web).
But this time, the new generation didn't adopt these stupid new words and kept on using the much sexier 'mail' or 'e-mail'.. So actually, this ban is not really new, it's just a second shot at getting rid of 'e-mail', since 'mel' failed miserably. Bottom line: nothing to be worried about :-)