French language authority bans English words used in gaming sector

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France’s linguistic watchdog, the Académie Française, has banned the official use of tech jargon borrowed from English to describe the world of video gaming.

The Culture Ministry, which was involved in spearheading the changes, told AFP that anglicisms in the gaming sector could potentially act as an understanding barrier for non-gamers.

Words such as "e-sports" and “streamer” are to be respectively replaced with "jeu video de competition" and "joueur-animateur en direct”. Elsewhere “pro-gamer” is to become “joueur professionnel” and "cloud gaming" will be “jeu video en nuage”.

The changes were announced in the government’s official legal almanac, the Journal Officiel, which makes them gospel for government employees.

Custodians

For centuries the academy has been tasked with maintaining the purity of the French language, with English words seen as a particular threat.

In February, the academy warned that hybrid “Franglais” terms – and imports such as “drive-in” and “big data” – were degrading the language and creating communication issues.

“Many anglicisms are used in place of existing French words or expressions, inevitably leading to the gradual erasure of the French equivalents,” it warned in a report.

“Aside from fashion and sport, the internet and digital field is unsurprisingly the most strongly and visibly anglicised.”

Created in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the academy is made up of 40 members – eminent writers, thinkers, historians, doctors – who are known as immortels.

They meet every Thursday to discuss words, find French alternatives to foreign terms, and to decide which ones may enter the academy’s online dictionary.

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