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  • Is this the end of the French resistance against English?
  • Is this the end of the French resistance against English?
    Miguel Pires da Rosa, Creative Commons (2011) ©
CASE STUDY

SmartSubs: why English is capturing hearts and tongues in France

The French have fiercely defended their language for centuries, but via imported TV shows and the internet, English words are infiltrating – 'selfie' and 'troll' now appear in the two most popular French dictionaries. But in a nation with notoriously poor English skills, how can the French adapt?

Location France

Scope
France has fiercely defended its language for centuries. That bastion of what’s acceptably ‘French’ – the Académie Française – was founded in 1635. But the 21st century is rapidly breaking down the fortress of old language.

In March 2015, culture secretary Fleur Pellerin – who famously dubbed herself ‘the minister of the French language’ – said that she she saw “no point in protecting French from outside influences like English.” She’s responding to a cultural shift prompted by imported TV shows and a global mindset that’s been catalysed by social media, and the internet as a whole.

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