France Bans Email

You have your reality; we have ours. Such is the position of the French government, at least when it comes to matters of language. For many years the French have been concerned about the widespread adoption of English words, and the government’s General Commission on Terminology and Neology has tried to enforce the purity of the French language.
Now the Commission has banned the word “email” from all government “ministries, documents, publications or Web sites.” In its place, Frenchmen are directed to use the word “courriel,” which is apparently a recently-invented word which means “email.” The French commission explains–hilariously–its ruling: “Evocative, with a very French sound, the word ‘courriel’ is broadly used in the press and competes advantageously with the borrowed ‘mail’ in English.” Of course, if “courriel” really “competes advantageously” with “email,” they wouldn’t have to ban “email,” would they?


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