France Pushes Common English Term Out Of French Lexicon

Jan 26, 2013
Originally published on January 26, 2013 5:36 pm
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


This week, the French government, which charges the Academie Francaise with keeping French free from corruptions by what they call the language of Shakespeare - that's us - announced a new phrase to replace the English hashtag with mot-diese. Mot means word in French and diese is the typesetting symbol that used to be used to indicate the number or a musical sharp before it was so widely dubbed hashtag, and used to group messages on social media.

The French are not laissez-faire about French. They don't talk about enriching their language with the world's diversity. In fact, the group called The Future of the French Language has declared the drift of English into everyday language in France, words like blog, email, or hamburger are more serious threat to French identity than the Nazi occupation of World War II.

Isn't that a line from "Casablanca"? I'm shocked, shocked to hear English spoken in here. By the way, put this under hashtag mot-diese. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.