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France bans English gaming terms to preserve their language

Words like “e-sports” and “streaming” are now banned for government officials.

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Earlier this week, French government officials adjusted the rules surrounding the use of English gaming terms as part of its ongoing effort to preserve the French language. Officials abandoned words like ‘e-sports’ and ‘streaming’ in favor of French alternatives.

A new report from The Guardian highlights how French officials made the decision to effectively ban English gaming terms. The country’s culture ministry says that English video game terms could act as “a barrier to understanding” for French-speaking non-gamers.

Preservation of the French language is something that is constantly on the mind of French officials. Another recent report from the Académie Française, France’s centuries-old language keepers, spoke out against the growing use of English words in French life.

Centuries-old language watchdog the Académie Française warned in February of a ‘degradation that must not be seen as inevitable’. It highlighted terms including train operator SNCF’s brand ‘Ouigo’ (pronounced ‘we go’) along with straightforward imports such as ‘big data’ and ‘drive-in’.

France published the recent changes targeting gaming terms in the official government journal. And that means that government officials in France must abide by the new rules.

Some examples of the terms that officials have replaced include “streaming,” which is now known as “joueur-animateur en direct.”

And officials have replaced “e-sports” with “Jeu video de competition.” Both of those names seem like quite a mouthful.

Will people actually abide by these rules?

I can’t imagine that the terms will spread outside of the government. Unless, of course, someone is able to come up with names that roll off the tongue a little better.

Nevertheless, preserving the purity of the French language has been a priority for the government for centuries. The country has had constant influence from its English neighbors to the north and, more recently, Americans in the west.

And while it has been okay for French terms to leak their way into the English language, French officials don’t feel the same way. The purity of the French language is of utmost priority, even when it comes to something as trivial as gaming terms.

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