French Being Snotty About Language Again

Sacre bleu. The French government has banned use of the words "Twitter" and "Facebook" from television and the radio, unless being used in a news story involving either social network. The given reason? A relatively recent law that declares mention of a service by name is advertising. Says Christine Kelly, a spokesperson for France's Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel,

"Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition," she told L'Express. "This would be a distortion of competition. If we allow Facebook and Twitter to be cited on air, it's opening a Pandora's Box— other social networks will complain to us saying, 'why not us?'"

Yes, poor Friendster and Xanga. Why not them?

Some speculate that the ban isn't purely to adhere to the law banning preferential treatment during news programs; the French are notorious for cultural and linguistic protectionism (famously banning "email" and replacing it with "courrier électronique," which is much simpler) and Facebook and Twitter are American companies.


Dominique Strauss-Kahn's raping errbody out here, and in the immediate aftermath, the focus is on linguistic purity and avoiding free advertising. It's a good thing the French are focusing on what's important.

French Ban "Twitter" and "Facebook" From TV, Radio [HuffPo]

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I'm an American francophile, and incredibly snotty about correct French. (I think acting like la Police linguistique runs on my mother's side of the family, but I digress.) I feel disappointed when I see so much English in Europe, but that's le business, I suppose.

As an American translator whose work sometimes gets reviewed by Brits, I'm noticing a certain amount of French-like defensiveness coming from that side of the Channel/pond. One of my translations was rated almost perfect except for "impurities" like U.S. spelling. (The client did not request U.S. usage.) This was several months ago. I'm still pissed off (American usage.) Impurities???? Puh-fucking-leeze. Spelling the way one learned (not learnt) is not an impurity. And that's just spelling. And we give the French shit for wanting to say "courriel" instead of "e-mail"? Sheesh!

(Spelling "colour," with a "u," for instance, is not an impurity. It annoys the hell out of me, has since I was about 8, but that's my problem.) Grrrrrr..... And don't get me started on where to put the (double) quotation marks, not "inverted commas." My geeky little American head will explode.

Yes, the "impurity" comment really upset me, and this whole rant is only somewhat related to the Jez post. Such is my life. I'm a freaky word and punctuation geek.