French government workers are banned from using certain English gaming terms.
Government officials, including teachers, must now use French terms like “jeu video de competition” for “eSport” and “joueur-animateur en direct” for “streamer” according to reporting from The Guardian.
The announcement came at the end of May 2022 from the French Culture Ministry and Académie Française, an exclusive organization dating back to the 17th century with a mission of preserving the purity of the French language.
This isn’t the first time the Académie Française has attempted to prevent the Anglicising of the French language – “buzz,” “hashtag,” and “fashionista” were all previously banned. The newly published list of banned gaming terms is just the latest move by the historic organization in its efforts to preserve France’s mother tongue.
Why The Académie Française Bans English Words
The Académie Française was formed in 1634 under King Louis XIII’s reign to maintain the French literary language. This group, which is considered by many to be conservative and elusive, is made up of just 40 members called “les immortels.”
While they were not video game vernacular, Voltaire and Victor Hugo were two prominent members during their time.
The “Immortals” no longer just focus on literature and instead works to stop the adoption of “Franglais” – a casual hybrid of the French and English languages.
In February, the Académie Française released a report stating that “today’s communication is characterized by a degradation that must not be seen as inevitable,” as reported in The Guardian.
Contributing to the degradation, in the Académie’s opinion, are English tech terms that create a “barrier to understanding” for some French speakers who don’t play video games.
With the banning of these gaming terms like pro gamer and streamer, the Académie is taking another step towards protecting the purity of the French language.
What Is Franglais?
According to research conducted by Le Parisien, “90 percent of French people speak a little Franglais.”
Even French President Emmanuel Macron is known for using Franglais.
Essentially, Franglais is an informal version of French that incorporates borrowed English words into the language. Phrases like “c’est le week-end?” and words like “bruncher” have been adopted by Franglais speakers. And while speaking Franglais is common, it is not always accepted.
For example, according to the 1994 Toubon Law, French is the required language for culture and entertainment. This law states that all TV programs and 40% of radio music must be broadcast in French.
And that’s where the Académie Française comes in. This group essentially acts as gatekeepers of the French language. And they work to eliminate the common practice of Franglais.
With international travel and social media, more people are exposed to their non-native languages. And this causes some languages to blend. Tons of French words, like “entrepreneur” and “soiree,” have even been incorporated into English.
As the world continues to become more interconnected, it will be interesting to see how the Académie Française adapts – or doesn’t – to the use of Franglais.
Want to brush up on your French? Here are some of the gaming terms that French officials are now required to use:
- cloud gaming = jeu vidéo en nuage
- free-to-play = jeu vidéo en accès gratuit
- skill game = jeu vidéo d’habileté, jeu d’habileté
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Stephanie Brown is a New York City-based travel blogger and freelance content creator.
You can find her at The Adventuring Millennial.