Are you a gamer? If you’re French, it seems that you shouldn’t be using so much English in pursuit of your goals.
It’s a feature of an active language, that it will readily assimilate words from others. Pizza, karaoke, vuvuzela, parka, gateau, schadenfreude, they have all played their part in bringing a little je ne sais quoi into our everyday speech. This happens as a natural process as whatever the word is describing becomes popular, and sometimes these new words cause a backlash from those who see themselves as the language’s defenders.
Often this is a fringe activity such as the British politician who made a fool of himself in a radio interview by insisting on the now-archaic Wade-Giles “Peking” rather than the vastly more common Pinyin “Beijing”, but for some tongues it’s no laughing matter. Nowhere is this more the case than in the Francophone world, in which the Academie Francaise and the French and Quebecquois governments see themselves as very much the official guardians of French. And now it seems that the French ministry of culture have turned their eyes upon gamers.
It’s nothing new for words associated with technology to fall under this scrutiny, a quarter century ago in the CD-ROM business it was de rigeur for localized discs to talk about le logicel, l’ordinateur, and telecharger instead of program, computer, and download. The talk of the industry was that Sony refused to do this for PlayStation consoles sold in Quebec during the 1990s, and thus all their sales in the province had to be under-the-counter. But there’s a sense from reading the reports that this intervention is a little clumsy; while it’s easy to say logicel we’re not so sure that jeu video de competition or video game competition for e-sports and joueur-animateur en direct or live player-animator for streamer aren’t just too much of a mouthful for easy adoption. For the first one, we can’t help remembering that sport is also an everyday French word, so couldn’t they have come up with something less clumsy such as reseau-sports or network-sports?
Here at Hackaday more than one of us are unrepentant Francophiles, so the evolution of French words in our field is of interest to us. Habitez-vous en France ou Quebec? Donnez-nous votres idees dans les commentaires! (mais en Anglais s’il vous plait pour les Americains, excusez-nous)
Header image: Christopher Macsurak, CC BY-SA 4.0.