To stop English words from seeping into the French language, a French government agency has replaced the word “hashtag” with “mot-dièse,” which means “sharp word.”
The French language police, erm, the Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologie, is charged with promoting French and the battle against allowing technology-related English words into the French lexicon is an ongoing one.
The Culture Ministry’s proclamations reflect mandatory usage in official French documents, government communications, and the like, but there is no law, per se, that prohibits an ordinary French man or woman from using the anglicized terms on Twitter or anywhere else.
Of course, used in social media, the word “hashtag” is rarely used anyway, as the pound sign (#) is what is used to precede “a pithy phrase . . . used to either label or comment on the preceding tweet.”
But perhaps the word comes up often enough in French government documents to require this ban?
What do you think of the French government’s attempts at keeping its language pure and free from English intrusions?
#trèsbien or #shouldwestartcallingthemfreedomfriesagain?