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What's French for 'hashtag'?

The French are notoriously strict when it comes to their language. They don't want American slang corrupting what's generally considered to be one of the most beautiful languages in the world.

They actually have an official government agency that dictates this thing, and makes it law, as opposed to the American linguistic Wild West, with our YOLOs and hip-hop and "booty calls" and "hashtags."

And the hashtag is the target of their latest linguistic offensive: From now on, it's called a "mot-dièse" (is that sort of like a Twitter Royale with Cheese?), and the hashtag is out.

The French word for hashtag, published in the official journal the other day, follows the government's somewhat successful redefinition of email (courriel) and its less successful attempt to persuade people to avoid the word "weekend."

[Via the Mercury News]

UPDATE: @seb_inthecity pointed out that "mot-clic" has been the norm in Canada since 2011. Here is the OQLF definition. Thanks for the heads-up!

For more about the French language and culture, take a look at the following:
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3 Comments:

  1. cgtradmed said...
    Hello,
    Don't worry, this "creation" will be as unsuccessful as the attempt to eradicate the word "weekend" :-)
    Mot-dièse sounds strange, nearly ridiculous. Not sure it will be widely used.
    However, the sign "#" is actually called dièse in French and is widely used by all administrations, big companies, banks, institutions, etc, when you call them on the phone.
    You can hear a frigid, automatic voice asking you "Please enter your customer/user/identification number, then press the dièse key...now, please enter your secret code, then press the dièse key ....... Now, please enter your postal code, then press the dièse key .... thank you. Now, enter your date of birth, then press the dièse key. Thank you .... (music)... Sorry, all your correspondent's phone lines are busy presently. Please call back later."

    You see why French people will probably not be as fans of that mot-dièse as some technocrats would have us believe, don't you?

    However, dièse alone (without "mot") is practical, since it allows to conjugate a verb: diéser. This verb exists in music, as the origin of the dièse sign is musical.
    So, we could say "j'ai diésé ce message" (I hashtagged this message). It is easy. But "j'ai mot-diésé ce message", it's a big no-no! It sounds too much like the verb "maudire" (to curse) and one could understand "J'ai maudit ce message /I cursed this message".

    It is noteworthy to state that the musical dièse and the typographic dièse are not exactly identical : the musical one,in fact the true one, the French name of which is really dièse, has also 2 parallel cross bars, but those bars are upwardly rising &#9839 , while in the typographic dièse, the true French name of which is croisillon (cross-like), those 2 cross bars are strictly horizontal &#35.

    So, let's hashtag as much and as long as we want and let's not curse the Internet.

    Catherine
    Sandra said...
    Well I guess this will not help with the trend that France is experiencing (two presidents in a row who cannot speak English) - Perhaps a little exposure to Shakespeare's language would not hurt (see: http://news.yahoo.com/hollande-makes-friendly-mistake-note-obama-155633665.html) - I found that faux pas to be a coup de grace to the credibility of French diplomacy....but then again I am an eternal habituée when it comes to lèse majesté.
    teach said...
    Great write up. I am beginner of learning French language. I have taken various courses to learn French. I have got some ideas from you . Thanks for sharing this nice post.

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