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Friday, February 09, 2007

Hélas! French - no longer the language of diplomacy, love, or commerce

French trade unionists are all upset that more and more French businesses and computer users are, gasp!, using English. They are fighting to make Fench the language of the law in the European Union because it was the language used in Napoleon's Code and thus should trump English or German. They just can't stand the thought that English is permeating their culture and object to English appearing on l'internet and in les e-mails.
According to a survey brandished by the French trades unions at their press conference in Parliament today, 7% of French firms already use English as their main language, while multi-nationals routinely send e-mails to their French workers in English regardless of whether they understand them.

Jean-Loup Cuisiniez of the CFTC trade union says the trend towards using English in the workplace here is both dangerous and insulting to French workers.
Unfortunately, complaining about it isn't going to suddenly transform French into the language of the Internet.

It's just hard for them to accept that their cultural dominance has been declining since Waterloo.
All this has made some in France fear that the decline in the use of the French language - both in international diplomacy and business - goes hand in hand with the decline of French influence on the world stage and its importance as a global power.
Perhaps they would do better to be concerned about the unassimilated immigrants in their midst rather than English phrases showing up in their e-mails.

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