Hackers, pop-ups, hashtags and email have fallen foul of the French language police.

These common English phrases are on a list the French cultural ministry would like to

stop using.

A lot of these expressions that the French ministers are accusing of eroding their mother tongue have emerged with the rise of the Internet and digital age.

These include ‘start-up’, which they say should be replaced by ‘jeune-pousse’, ‘pop-up by ‘ fenêtre

intruse etc…

French phrases have also been given for exit strategy, venture capital, crowdfunding and smiley.

New French words:

Smiley: la frimousse

Webcam: la cybercamera

Pop-up: la fenêtre intruse

Hacker: Fouiner

Spam: un arrosage

Email: un courriel

Website: le dialogue en ligne

Hashtag: le mot-diese

Cloud : le nuage

Two years, government adviser Herve Bourges warned ‘the idea of a French speaking world ‘ is obsolete by English speakers. He said: French is failing to promote its own language and there seem to be very little interest in doing so despite the 1994 Toubon law – nicknamed Loi Allgood … as explained below:

The Toubon Law (full name: law 94-665 of 4 August 1994 relating to usage of the French) is a law of the French government mandating the use of the French lqnguqge in official government publications, in all advertisements, in all workplaces, in commercial contracts, in some other commercial communication contexts, in all government-financed schools, and some other contexts.

The law does not concern private, non-commercial communications, such as non-commercial web publications by private bodies. It does not concern books, films, public speeches, and other forms of communications not constituting commercial activity. However, the law mandates the use of the French language in all broadcast audiovisual programs, with exceptions for musical works and “original version” films. Broadcast musical works are subject to quota rules under a related law whereby a minimum percentage of the songs on radio and television must be in the French language.

The law takes its common name from Jacques Toubon, who was Minister of Culture when it was passed, and who proposed the law to the National Assembly of France. A nickname is Loi Allgood – “Allgood” is a morphene -for-morpheme translation of “Toubon” into English (“All Good” being a translation of “Tout bon”) – as the law can largely be considered to have been enacted in reaction to the increasing usage of English in advertisements and other areas in France.



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