English Word ‘Hashtag’ Gets a French Alternative

social networks, social media, french, france

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The French government has decreed that the English word “hashtag,” popularized by Twitter, should be eschewed in favor of the French translation “mot-dièse.”

The decree comes a body established in 1996 to encourage the “enrichment of the French language” rather than employing the anglicisms that sometimes creep in.

Government officials are held to using the French alternatives, but average citizens will not be prohibited from using the term “hashtag” — although it is especially difficult to pronounce in French.

Technology is a particular area of the concern for the body, as with the new forms of communication come new words to describe them — largely in English.

The decree comes in the same week that a French court ordered Twitter to reveal the identities of French users who participated in the anti-semitic meme that employed “mot-dièses” such as #unbonjuif and #unjuifmort.

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