Wednesday, December 11, 2002

It's the Frenchies alert!
The BBC snickers through French balk @ official email vocab:
Controversy has erupted in France after the linguistic authorities gave the @ character a name no French email user has ever heard of.

Until now, the French have had a choice between "arobase", a popular word derived from the Spanish, and - for the anglophile - "at".

But the General Commission for Terminology and Neologisms - the government body charged with coining new French words - has decided that the proper word should be "arrobe".

However there are no guarantees that the new name will take off.
No kidding. Some other official French terms from the article:
They have successfully imposed "ordinateur" for computer, "logiciel" for software, "internaute" for internet-user, and "informatique" for computer science.
For example the widely used expression FAQ - as in Frequently Asked Questions - has been cleverly translated as Foire Aux Questions (question market).

But the French authorities have been powerless against the spread of "email". They also failed to substitute "jeunes pousses" (young sprouts) for internet start-ups.
Jeunes pousses?