New Language Law = FR-exting?

The following is in followup to my previous post about French language laws, in order to prevent the increasing intrusion of English-isms.

There was an article in the Le Figaro (online version) concerning text messaging (sending and receiving SMS) within France;  it refers to the use of all languages other than French when texting.

“As of Friday, April 5th, the new law dictates that a maximum of 12% of all SMS traffic within the French telecommunications system in foreign languages will be allowed (Loi 2872bis, Décret 842a, 18 Mars 2013, Loi concernant l’utilisation des langues étrangères dans les télécommunications).  Apparently, expressions such as ‘le weekend’, ‘le parking’, ‘bye bye’, ‘email’ and ‘ciao,’ that have become firmly implanted in the French vocabulary, are targeted.  In addition, for ‘email’ the French equivalent ‘courriel’ is now expected.

The most worrying part of the new law is the fact that once daily quotas are full, texts in entirely (or partly) foreign language and even using a single non-French word will be blocked.

A member of the French parliament has followed this up by proposing that all websites based in France must now contain a minimum of 33.3% French language content! Plus, all foreign language sites must offer the possibility of full availability in French.  He has also suggested that chat rooms and other facilities have limits similar to the mobile telephone regulations. It remains to be seen if this becomes law as well.”

En principe, I understand the desire to maintain French heritage and culture, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out en réalité!

(Source: Le Figaro)

22 thoughts on “New Language Law = FR-exting?

  1. Interesting post! I don’t expect this new surge of anti-foreign words will have any more effect than all the others for the last 40 years. It is completely impossible to dictate which words are spoken. The reason English is still the most “trendy” language in the world is because it is constantly evolving, adopting new and often foreign words.

  2. Sometimes I feel like in a circus here … Since we live here it became more and more worst…

  3. Agree, there are difficult bureaucratic hurdles to live in France – it’s such a personal and emotional choice as to whether living here is worth jumping through the hoops or not, but I guess, that goes for everywhere. Thanks so much for your comments.

  4. Oh wow! This seems like something that would be very difficult to enforce! Even if we don’t use them in texts the spoken French uses many English words! Just as English speakers (unknowingly, as I did before I began learning the language) use French words every day. French is beautiful and I agree that it should be preserved but I am not sure this is the right way … Does this mean I won’t be able to text my other English speaking friends while I am living in France? I guess we will see how this turns out… Nice post! Thanks!

  5. colormusing says:

    How in the world is this going to be regulated?? It brings up questions of the privacy of our communications, among other things. Perhaps that member of parliament is willing to take on the responsibility of checking the percentage of French on millions of websites.

    Je suis d’accord de vous, Kim— I can understand the principle (there’s certainly a lot of squabbling over the supposed infiltration of languages other than English here in the US), and you know I love France and the French people and their language, BUT I can’t help feeling that they’re on the express highway to isolationism with stunts like this— and that won’t benefit anyone, especially the French, in the long run.

    Maybe, instead of trying to use legislation to force people to use the French language, they should think about channeling that energy and those resources into French language education options, so people could understand the benefits of learning French as a foreign language, rather than feeling bullied into it, or worse, deciding to leave France for somewhere a little more tolerant. There’s more than enough of that happening already, which is terribly sad in a country with so much to offer.

  6. I totally agree with your viewpoint – it will be interesting to see how this shakes out politically in the end! Merci pour votre commentaire.

  7. Wow. . .. Just. Wow. As you say, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in reality. Great post!

  8. frenchfry36 says:

    Encroyable. LOL.
    Language is an evolving thing, and impossible to regulate.

  9. I believe Quebec has pretty regulated standards enforced for display signs and songs played on the radio stations; will be interesting to see what France does with this. Merci for your comment.

  10. Mike Knoche says:

    What happens when you use a naughty English word?

  11. Good question 🙂

  12. Rita says:

    well you obviously missed out on this being an april fools – possion d’avril. you must be american to be as stupid as that….

  13. This is all a bit scary isn’t it? Nevertheless, as with many other things the French get agitated about, often they never actually see the light of day. They don’t seem to be quite so bothered about making u-turns as some of the rest of their European compatriots.

    On a more serious note though, unless languages are prepared to evolve and develop they run the risk of “diminution”. I did a course recently on la Francophonie and there is a sense in which la creolisation is seen as both the saviour and the death knell of the French language. Interesting!!

    Great post, Kim.

  14. Thanks, Corinne. I agree – usually it’s much ado about nothing mentality here 🙂

  15. leamuse says:

    Interesting but I am not going to worry about it. Even if it were to materialise, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but here. C’est la vie!

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