Preface:  Hello  readers!  I  know  that  I  haven’t  written  in  awhile,  but  I  am  currently  studying  university  in  Paris,  so  I  have  been  very  busy,  as  you  can  imagine.  This  post  will  go  under  my  “Opinion”  tab  and  is  based  solely  on  a  class  that  I  have  called  French:  Myths  and  Realities.  I  know  it  is  unlike  me  to  write  articles  like  these;  however,  it’s  fascinating,  and   I  hope  you  all  like it  (hopefully,  my  professor  will  too.)  Please  comment,  email,  like,  and  I  hope  you  all  have  a  wonderful  day  (or  night)! 🙂

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Language, in  its  definitive  form,  is  “the  method  of  human  communication,  either  spoken  or written,  consisting  of  the  words  in  a  structured  and  conventional  way” (oxforddictionaries.com). It  is  a  method  of  communication,  not  a  person,  place,  or  thing  that  needs  to  be  protected.  Granted,  language  identifies  the  multi-faceted  diversity  that  the  world  presents  and  allows  each  and  every  one  of  us  to  characterize  ourselves  through  this  vernacular.  However, when  language  is  dramatized  as  a  tour-de-force  spectacle —  much  like  how  the  French  treat  their  language—  it  becomes  personified  and  a  want  of  protection  becomes  evident.  Nevertheless,  this  said  protection  presents  a  problem  to  the  point  that  the  repercussions  as  to  which  their  people  defend  their  language  is  borderline  ridiculous.

In  1635,  the  Académie  française  was  created  under  the  great  Cardinal  Richelieu  in  order  for  France  to  protect  its  language  from  Italian  influences.  It  was  designed  to  be   “the  official  custodian  of  the  French  tongue”  (“The  French  protect  their  language  like  the  British  protect  their  currency”, Andrew  Gallix),  as  if  France  was  an  introverted  high  school  boy  that  needed  protection  from  the  outgoing  new  kid  in  his  math  class. In  contrast,  a  country’s  pride  belongs  solely  on  its  culture,  and  it  is  fairly  debatable  that  language  is,  in  itself,  a  culture.  It  makes  sense  that  if  invaders  came  and  took  over  one’s  country  that  one  would  retreat  and  try  to  protect  one’s  people;  it  does  not  make  sense  that  one  defends  one’s  language  from  invaders  because  let’s  face  it:  there  is  a  world  out  there  that  goes  beyond  Alsace,  Strasbourg,  Normandy,  and  (yes,  Emperor  Napoleon)  even  Paris.

However,  the  French  elites  are  naturally  punctilious  and  codified  that  they  tend  to  become  meticulous  within  every  inch  (or  centimeter,  perhaps)  of  their  affairs—  especially  language.  To  this  day,  the  French  still  make  an  effort  to  banish  languages  (with  the  exception  of  the  French  language)  from  their  system.  In  the  article,  “Nous twitterons,”  the  author  claims  that  “…By  law,  any  brand’s  English  slogan,  such  as  Nespresso’s  “What  else?”,  must  be  translated  with  a  subtitle  (Quoi  d’autre?).  This  produces  comical  results.”  Agreeing  with  the  comical  results  stated  by  the  author,  modern  society  must  not  forget  the  fact  that  the  supercilious  aura  that  the  French  emit  about  their  language  is  common  knowledge,  “good  sense”  as  Descartes  once  claimed  in  his  “Discourse  on  the  Method”.

This  haughty  mindset  pre-dates   back  to  1066,  when  the  French  language  became  the  lingua  franca  of  the  Western  world  and  lasted  between  the  1400-1500s.  Unfortunately, French  language  dominance  is  no  more,  and  in  the  article,  “Nous  Twitterons”,  the  author  bluntly  states  that  the  French  are  jealous  and  possibly  annoyed  of  English  language  dominance  through: “France  is  haunted  by  its  lost  American  future.” —  aka:

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Susan  Sontag  once  pointed  out  that  French  is  “a  language  that  tends  to  break  when  you  bend  it”  (“The  French  protect  their  language…”,  Andrew  Gallix),  and  she  is  correct.  Anglicisms  interwoven  within  the  French  language  are,  quite  frankly,  ugly.  “Linguistic  watchdogs”  (Gallix)  use  alternative  terms  for  words  like  “post-it  note”,  with  “papillon”. In  “Nous  Twitterons”,  the  author states  the  fact  that  a  fast-food  chain  across  France  “introduced  le  French  burger  to  its  menu,  helpfully  translating  it  as  le  burger  a  la  francaise”. Going  back  to  the  article  “Nous  twitterons”,  this  seems  utterly  comical  to  a  modern-day  student  like  me.

Isn’t  this  push-and-pull  between  the  meticulous  “immortels”  of  the  Academie  and  the  younger,  more  world-renowned  younger  generation  ridiculous?  Shouldn’t  the  French  give  a  little  more  slack  to  its  own  society  and  explore  beyond  their  borders  through  language?  I  am  implying  that  the  Academie  should  not  be  so  harsh  upon  a  society  that  is  widely  influenced  by  English  dominance;  instead,  they  should  use  it  to  their  advantage,  to  learn  two  (or  more)  languages  in  order  to  become  well-rounded,  more  intelligent,  and  more  adaptable  citizens.  After  all,  the  world  is  ever-changing,  and  the  way  I  see  it,  the  French  will  not  rise  up  to  first-world,  21st-century  expectations  if  their  mindsets  are  still  frolicking  in  the  17th-century.

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