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French MPs ‘Ban’ English At Paris Olympics

Annie Genevard, the conservative advocate behind the resolution, voiced concern to her colleagues about “the Olympics reflecting the waning influence of our language.”

By Paul Tuama

After enduring a prolonged struggle against the encroachment of English in advertising, music, and film, French lawmakers are now embarking on a new endeavor: preserving their domestic Olympics this year by eschewing anglicisms.

The lower house of parliament, in a resolution passed on Thursday, implored organizers of the 2024 Paris Games, as well as participants, coaches, and journalists, to prioritize the use of French whenever possible.

Annie Genevard, the conservative advocate behind the resolution, voiced concern to her colleagues about “the Olympics reflecting the waning influence of our language.” She pointed to examples such as the criticized slogan “Made for Sharing” used in Paris’ initial bid for the Games, along with recent government initiatives like “Choose France” and “Made in France.”

Genevard also highlighted how even the French rugby team sported jerseys with “Rugby World Cup” instead of “La Coupe du Monde de rugby” during last year’s competition in France.

“All of these examples demonstrate that the fight for the French language … is never finished, even in the most official spheres,” Genevard added.

For years, the global spread of English has been a source of frustration for French governments, who have endeavored to safeguard the integrity of their language domestically while also advocating for its expansion overseas.

At the heart of this effort lies an institution known as the Académie Française, which has been responsible for producing officially sanctioned dictionaries for over three centuries. These dictionaries serve to catalog and endorse new terms or expressions, frequently offering translations of widely adopted English words.

“Let’s hope that ‘planche a roulettes’ replaces skateboard and ‘rouleau du cap’ point break (a surfing term), but I have my doubts,” added Genevard.

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