Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The French love a lot of things.
They love good food and wine.
They love the Eiffel Tower.
They love themselves.
But, they love their language above all else.
They love it so much that they are fighting to protect it from its arch enemy: English.
The recent news that the French government is banning the word “hashtag” from its language should come as no surprise to anyone. It is not the first time a push has been made by some quadrant of the French to ban words created by English speakers.
Apparently, the rise of Twitter is some sort of threat to France. The way the government’s Academie Francaise is reacting, one would think the social media website — whose name has already been banned from the French language — is a threat to national security.
The word “hashtag” is to be removed from all official government documents, and replaced with the word “mot-diese.” The “#” symbol can stay, however.
The Daily Mail reports “hashtag” joins other banned words and phrases, including “E-mail,” “blog” and “low-cost airline.” The word “Facebook” has also been declared a threat to the French language, and therefore banned.
Isn’t this just a little ridiculous?
They’ve banned the word “supermodel” which is bizarre because it is a fashion term and Paris is the epicenter of the fashion world.
When you get down to it, this banning of English words is just a new method of fighting the old Anglo-French wars which dragged on for centuries until England and France needed each other to fight Germany in the 20th Century.
They can’t go to war against England on a battlefield, so they are going to use disagreements over language to fight their battles.
The French elite are worried because the English-speaking hegemony is ever growing at the expense of Francophone languages.
Think about it for a second. If you go to Italy, it is common to find Italians who can speak English very well.
Go to France and its like “Je parle Francais! Je ne parle pas Anglais!”
Honestly, we should bow to the expertise of British comedienne Catherine Tate when it comes to slapping the French elite over the issue of language.
Tate once did a television skit known on YouTube as “The Offensive Translator.” In the skit, she played an office worker who claims she can speak seven different languages and is therefore pressed into service by her boss during a corporate meeting.
It is totally un-PC and is based on stereotypes of how foreigners sound when they talk.
She begins with her “translation” for the French representative, and that translation is just Tate repeatedly going “Huh-e-huh-e-huh-e-huh.”
Curt Yeomans is the Senior Reporter for the Clayton News Daily and an avid traveler. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, via e-mail at email@example.com and on Twitter @CYeomansCND.