Learning English - Words in the News
09 February, 2007 - Published 16:24 GMT
French protest against English language
A group of French trades unionists and language pressure groups have joined French MPs to appeal to French businesses to stop using English in the workplace, whether on email, the telephone or just by using English words such as 'le job, 'le newsletter' or 'le web'.
Leading the charge of the French language brigade in its latest skirmish was French MP Jacques Miyar. Unusually for a man of the right, the troops following him into battle are trade unionists and language pressure groups, united in a new French resistance. The enemy is the English language. It's colonised French screens, infiltrated French music and now it's conquering the French workplace - in e-mails, or 'le mail' and 'sur le web' on 'l'internet' and even on 'les news'. All this has to stop, says Mr Miyar.
I think this is very dangerous because you know French language is the spirit of France. It will be a big mistake that those enterprises who want to make business in France impose their own cultural way. We French have been imperialists long before them, you know, and we know how it works. So I do believe that it is now time to react and say 'stop your nonsense, respect people, learn French, learn German, learn Chinese and Arabic as well as English'.
The French did legislate against English on the radio but it keeps creeping back by other routes. Seven percent of French firms use it as their main language, while multi-nationals send e-mails to their French workers in English, regardless of whether they understand them or not. All this is clearly a huge blow to French pride, although nobody here is willing to admit defeat even as 'les business' and 'les managers' continue to help the enemy's advance.
Caroline Wyatt, BBC News, Paris
a man of the right
a huge blow