When English words make it into the French language, they are colloquially known as “Franglais”. The English language has unabashedly incorporated French words into its lexicon, but the French have traditionally balked when the opposite happens, and English words are incorporated into the French vocabulary.
The French-speaking police view gambling, which is widespread by Franglais, as a new threat to the purity of the French language and have taken steps to mitigate this threat.
Here’s what you need to know.
France publishes a list of approved gambling terms
France has published new French words to be used to replace English gambling terms in its Journal Officiel (government’s official gazette).
The approved terms apply to all government employees and public institutions who are now prohibited from using English gambling terms and must use their French equivalents instead.
As a result, many gambling terms were replaced with much more wordy French terms.
This means that eSports is now “jeu vidéo de compétition”, matchmaking is now “appariement de joueurs”, cloud gaming is now “jeu video en nuage”, a pro-gamer is now a “joueur professionnel” and a streamer is now a “joueur- Animator en direct”.
Why did France ban English from gaming?
According to The Guardian, France’s Culture Ministry told AFP that the strong presence of Anglicism in the video game sector could pose a “barrier to understanding” for non-gamers.
France has had a linguistic purity law since 1994, banning the use of foreign languages in all television programs and requiring French radio stations to play French songs at least 40% of the time.
Now it’s gaming’s turn.
Is the English ban justified?
The Ministry of Culture may be right; French citizens who do not speak English may have difficulty understanding the meaning of essential gambling terms in English.
However, since English words are widely used in engineering, even in France, it is unclear how serious the problem is. Also, gambling is an international sport where English dominates. Therefore, the idea of ”speech purity” is impractical and unfair to the players.
The ban only applies to government employees and institutions and does not affect citizens or private entities. Therefore, Franglais will definitely continue to be used in the French gaming community.
Local game development is a better option
In the highly globalized tech world, France has no chance of dictating the choice of words. However, by providing incentives for local game developers, France can ensure that French-language games compete with international games.
Not only will this benefit the technology sector, but it will also ensure that the admittedly beautiful French language lives on in games and technology and evolves with the future.