Three days ago, Mashable reported that France’s government is making an effort to remove the word “hashtag” from their correspondence and legislation. Instead, the government will use the term “mot-dièse,” meaning “sharp word”. No word as of yet pertaining to how much France’s general public will be expected to conform, or what the penalty might be for using the sign in online conversation.
France has been known to think it keeps a tight rein on the new terminology that is assimilated into the language. Its Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologie launched previous campaigns against usage of words like “email” in 2003 and “Facebook” in 2011. A quick look at the original story’s comment section reveals some of the French public’s disenchantment, with French users largely heaving a sigh at their government.
Though I find that I am in agreement with those skeptical of this effort, I also must admit that I can’t relate. My native language is already ubiquitous and influential in the world, and it’s not very often that I consider the importance of etymology or how genuinely “English” a word is. As an American I do not at all mind appropriating French phrases like “laissez-faire” or “nous non plus”, so I say bah humbug to this business of banning words. #freedomfriesanyone