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France bans 'e-mail' from vocabulary

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#1    Phantom


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Posted 20 July 2003 - 07:42 AM

PARIS, France (AP) -- Goodbye "e-mail", the French government says, and hello "courriel" -- the term that linguistically sensitive France is now using to refer to electronic mail in official documents.

The Culture Ministry has announced a ban on the use of "e-mail" in all government ministries, documents, publications or Web sites, the latest step to stem an incursion of English words into the French lexicon.

The ministry's General Commission on Terminology and Neology insists Internet surfers in France are broadly using the term "courrier electronique" (electronic mail) instead of e-mail -- a claim some industry experts dispute. "Courriel" is a fusion of the two words.


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#2    Aslan


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Posted 20 July 2003 - 05:49 PM

What the good people at the culture ministry fail to realise is that language is living thing, and it grows and changes beyond what anybody can do to stop it.

The french culture ministry has been doing this for years, apparently completely ignorant to the fact that the job of a dictionary is not to teach people what words to use, but to catalogue those words in common usage - regardless of their origins.

They tried the same thing with the lovely anglo-french compounds 'le weekend' and 'le picnic' but it didn't stop people using them. Sooner or later they're going to have to revise their nationalistic fervour when it comes to language, or their dictionaries will become laughably obsolete.

#3    Ronin6th


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Posted 25 July 2003 - 11:41 AM

Yep I agree Aslan...anyway whatever they decide they'll never prevent people from using "e-mail". I've never heard anyone using "courriel" here, except in some official documents, but I swear that it happened very rarely.

This article enlightened the fact that trying to change the language in order to preserve the French root or under the influence of some groups leads sometimes the authority to take ridiculous decisions. For example, a few years ago French feminist groups asked to put a female gender to words that currently hadn't, and now we're "proud" to have new words in our language that probably nobody even women will use...

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#4    Starlyte


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Posted 28 July 2003 - 06:32 PM

I thought it was interesting that they remove the word e-mail.  Check out this LINK to words added to the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary.

Some examples:

brewski--noun [2brew + -ski, suffix in Slavic surnames] (1978) slang : BEER 4

chin music--noun  2 : a usually high inside pitch in baseball intended to intimidate the batter

dot-commer-- noun (1997) : a person who owns or works for a dot-com

def-- adjective deffer; deffest [probably alteration of death (from the phrase to death excessively)] (1979) slang : COOL 7

bogart- transitive verb [probably from Humphrey Bogart died 1957 American film actor] (1966) 1 : BULLY, INTIMIDATE <activists bogarted their way into the . . . offices — Sarah Ferguson> 2 : to use or consume without sharing <bogart a joint>

blink.gif I can't believe some of these made it into the dictionary....

Oh, and Homer would be interested in this article:

Oxford Accepts Homer Simpson
‘Full Monty,’ ‘Doh!’ Added to Dictionary

Full Article LINK

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