French government picks new words to replace English
France has begun another attempt to prevent the invasion of English words in its language by creating new words to replace common Anglicisms.
A government agency announced the results of a competition among schoolchildren and students to identify French-sounding terms for 21st-century phenomena.
A report in The Independent said the task was to come up with French replacements for "chat", "talk" and “newsletter” as well as terms for "tuning" – where young motorists ‘pimp up’ their cars and "buzz" to describe an internet craze.
The suggestions were considered a by panel of members of the Académie Française as well as French politicians and a rap musician, called MC Solaar. The final list will now be considered for entry in the French dictionary.
The exercise has become an annual event and a symbol of the determination of the French government to avoid the encroachment of English buzzwords.
Alain Joyandet, the minister responsible for promoting the French language, said: “Ten years ago everyone was talking about the walkman or software," he said. "These words have now been naturally replaced in our language by baladeur and logiciel."
The report said the suggested replacements included “ramdam” instead of “buzz”,– proposed by Elodie Dufour-Merle, a student at the University of Aix-Marseille.
"Tuning" should be "bolidage", invented by a journalism student from Lyons, Charles Fontaine, while "Talk" might become "débat" – not a new word, but considered the best option – and "Chat", current used in the context of online oncversations, might become "éblabla" or "tchatche".
For "newsletter", the judges considered "niouzlettre", "plinfo", "inforiel", "jourriel" and "journiel" but chose "infolettre".
However, some Anglicisms remain. Most common is “le weekend” but there are also “post-its” in the office and safety devices fitted to cars are still "les air bags".
The jury of experts agreed on the following current Anglicisms and their replacements:
buzz – ramdam
tuning – bolidage
chat – éblabla
newsletter – infolettre
talk – débat