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Article consacré à la langue française paru sur le site anglais du TELEGRAPH
Je vous adresse, pour information, l’article publié le 9 janvier 2010 sur le site Internet des journaux anglais Daily Telegraph er Sunday Telegraph.

English invasion ‘threatens French language more than Nazis did’

The invasion of English words poses more of a «grave threat» to French national identity than the imposition of German under the Nazi occupation, according to a group of self-styled guardians of the French language.

By Henry Samuel in Paris
Published: 7:00AM GMT 09 Jan 2010

Avenir de la langue française (Future of the French language) and eight other groups called on the government to put a stop to the Anglo-onslaught in a pair of opinion pieces in two national daily newspapers on Friday.

Quoting Michel Serres, a leading French philosopher, they warned: «There are more English words on the walls of Paris than German words under the (Nazi) Occupation».
As France is embroiled in a heated government-led debate about national identity, the group cited a recent poll suggesting that 80 per cent of the French see their language as crucial to national cohesion.

That cohesion was under threat as «French is methodically ousted in favour of simplified English that zealously promotes the international business oligarchy,» the group warned in articles in Le Monde and l’Humanité.

France introduced the «Toubon» law in 1994, making the use of French obligatory in official government publications, in state-funded schools, in advertisements and French workplaces. This means, for example, that all English words on billboards come with a French translation in a footnote.

However, according to the groups, companies have exploited loopholes in the law to «Anglicise» a host of well-known shop and brand names. Thus, the supermarket chain Auchon has changed the names of its smaller stores from Atac to «Simply Market».

France’s high-speed rail operator, SNCF has launched a new ticket offer called «TGV Family».

The MEDEF employers’s union’s even has a slogan in English, «Ready for the Future!».

France Telecom recent decision to drop the acute accents on its e’s came under attack, as did its launch of a relocation programme dubbed «Time to Move».

Unions blasted the scheme as a brutal «Anglo-Saxon» ploy to demoralise workers, which they claim was behind a wave of suicides at the company.

Some of the signatories are also on the board of the Académie de la Carpette anglaise, translated as the «English Doormat Academy», which awards an annual prize to «members of the French élite who distinguish themselves by relentlessly promoting the domination of English over French in France and in European institutions».

Last month they awarded the top prize to Richard Descoings, the head of the prestigious Sciences Po university, for opening a new site in Reims where all classes are held in English. There was a special mention for Peugoet Citroën, the French carmaker, whose boss, Philippe Varin, decreed that all top meetings and technical documents should be in English, «the universal language».

They said that the retreat of the French language was eminently «avoidable» but there was a lack of political will.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose English is rudimentary, pledged to push the use of French during his presidency of Europe in last year. But Marc Favre d’Echallens, Paris head of the group Défense de la Langue Française, said the president was obsessed with making France a bi-lingual country and had not stemmed the falling use of French in the EU.

In 1997, 40 per cent of documents at the European Commission were first written in French, compared to 45 per cent in English. In 2008, the ratio had fallen to 14 per cent French versus 72 per cent English. Last year French was down to 11 per cent.

The groups are demanding a «great national debate» on defending the French language, so that its «planned assassination cannot continue in silence».


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