27 January 2013 - 11:39am | posted by | 5 comments

France says no to the term 'hashtag' in a bid to protect its national language

France says no to the term 'hashtag' in a bid to protect its national language France says no to the term 'hashtag' in a bid to protect its national

The French Government has banned the use of the Twitter term ‘hashtag’ for fear it will undermine “linguistic purity”.

The Académie Française, responsible for maintaining the standards of French, came up with a list of words and terms that should be avoided by public figures and teachers.

Instead the term ‘mot-diese’ is to be used when referring to Twitter’s tagging system.

Other words that have found their way on to the Académie’s list include 'email', 'blog', 'supermodel', 'take-away', 'parking', 'weekend' and 'low-cost airline'.

Sports commentators have also been encouraged to use 'entraineur' and 'coup de pied de coin' instead of 'coach' and 'corner' during football matches.


28 Jan 2013 - 03:32
Force-7's picture

It's true that a nation's language is important, but foreign words are adopted by countries on a regular basis. If French words were disallowed in Britain, we'd find ourselves banned from ordering à la carte or asking for a baguette, hiring a chauffeur or a masseuse, organising a rendezvous at a boutique, and you can simply forget about going au naturel!

Plus with words like 'hashtag' and 'blog', which originated in English without a counterpart at the time, there seems no reason to come up with an alternative, aside from unnecessary pride.

That said, though we love the word 'hashtag', we have to admit that 'mot-diese' certainly rolls off the tongue. It's just a shame that it includes a hyphen, because as we all know, nothing cuts a hashtag short like a punctuation mark.

28 Jan 2013 - 09:35
themr19839's picture

It's rather amusing how the Academie still thinks it can impose liguistic purity - a language, any language, is a living thing and constantly changing a words and ideas wax and wane across national and international boundaries. How would you express zeitgeist, deja vu, hoi polloi, glasnost, or manga with purely 'english' words? More to the point perhaps, why would you bother?

28 Jan 2013 - 16:22
rosiemilton's picture

I remember my first encounter with a Francofied word, 'le cédè', or CD. I mean really.

29 Jan 2013 - 10:57
McMonkey's picture

English is an inclusive language.

French is an exclusive language.

English is a live, ever-changing means of communication.

Butchered and customised to the person using it.

French is elegant, precise, the mark of a cultured education.

French is a dead language, like Latin or Ancient Greek.


31 Jan 2013 - 14:36
stefa19596's picture

so what about "cinema" of the Lumiere brothers that have created their word from the Ancient Greek cinema (pronounced kinima)? is the Academie willing to change it or not? And dead or not a language it is, I wish that the French would address more critical issue of their society... see the life in Paris suburbs and social structure


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