Meet the Cultural Illuminati Guarding France’s Most Sacrosanct Asset: The French Language

When you’re known as “the immortals,” as are the 40 members of the Académie Française, it’s hard to take yourselves lightly. Over the course of five centuries, 732 of them have walked the earth and reigned as the guardians of France’s most sacrosanct asset: its language. A linguistic secret service, if you like, they project [...]

By |2018-10-01T00:13:45+00:00October 1st, 2018|Académie Française, France, French language|0 Comments

The language the French forbade

On a cold night winter’s night nine years ago, I made my way along icy cobblestone streets, a howling wind at my back, into the medieval town of Sarlat-la-Canéda in the Dordogne region of south-west France. This area is famous for its prehistoric caves, medieval castles and truffles – but I was here for another [...]

By |2018-09-12T11:00:16+00:00September 12th, 2018|Europe, France, Occitan language|4 Comments

French furore over spelling continues

Maurice Druon was the writer and wartime resistant who, as perpetual secretary of the Academie Francaise, lit the linguistic time bomb that is now combusting over Paris. In 1990, responding to a request from then Prime Minister Michel Rocard, he compiled a detailed series of "rectifications" for the French language. Around 2,400 words were affected. [...]

By |2016-02-20T18:58:52+00:00February 20th, 2016|France, French language, Language, Language reforms|0 Comments

Not the oignon: fury as France changes 2,000 spellings and drops some accents

French linguistic purists have voiced online anger at the removal from many words of one of their favourite accents – the pointy little circumflex hat (ˆ) that sits on top of certain vowels. Changes to around 2,400 French words to simplify them for schoolchildren, such as allowing the word for onion to be spelled ognon [...]

By |2016-02-05T23:14:48+00:00February 5th, 2016|France, French language, Language|1 Comment

French rebel over music language quotas

They were angry because the government wants to tighten the system still further by penalising radio stations if they just keep playing the same French hits over and again in order to fulfil their quota obligation. It's all a reminder of how in France cultural protection - an official policy of defending the national language [...]

By |2015-10-03T17:28:21+00:00October 3rd, 2015|France, French language|0 Comments

French, English, Comics: Proust On Memory, In Any Language

A new English translation of a French graphic novel adaptation of Swann's Way, the first of seven novels in Marcel Proust's masterwork, In Search of Lost Time. Read more: NPR