Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Thursday, July 10, 2003

No spite here.

France has taken a French lesson from its Quebec cousins, announcing electronic mail will be known as a "courriel" - a term coined by a Montreal professor.

La Commission generale de terminologie et de neologie, overseer of the French language in France, has adopted the term seven years after it was first used by University of Montreal literature professor Jean-Claude Guedon. The word "courriel" recently appeared in the language commission's official publication, and use of the term will be mandatory throughout the French government.

The commission had high praise for the word courriel, which first appeared in Guedon's 1996 book, La Planete cyber (The Cyber Planet).

"Evocative, with a very French sound, the word courriel is widely used in the media and is preferable to the English term 'mail,' " said the commission.

Guedon created the word courriel by contracting the words "courrier electronique," the French term for electronic mail.

The new word soon caught on in Quebec and throughout the French-speaking world - except in France, where the word "mail" remained the preferred term for e-mail.

Courriel gradually began popping up on business cards across France in the late 1990s. But it was still seen as a Quebecois novelty until 2000, when it appeared in world's foremost French-language dictionary, Le Petit Larousse.

Guedon's influence on French technical jargon has earned him a degree of notoriety in his home province.

L'Office de la langue francaise, overseer of the French language in Quebec, honoured Guedon this spring for his "exceptional (contribution) to the francization of cyberspace."

Where is the Woody Allen commercial saying he doesn't want to "courriel" his wife?

< email | 7/10/2003 02:27:00 PM | link

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