Txtng blamed for decline of French

Dennis Baron debaron at illinois.edu
Fri May 30 05:33:56 UTC 2008

There's a new post on the Web of Language:

Txtng blamed for decline of French

French President Nicolas Sarkozy blames texting, or, as they say in  
French, les textos, for the decline of the French language.  French  
teenagers, like their counterparts in the states and everywhere else,  
abbreviate to save space, or perhaps just to annoy adults, using forms  
like A2M1 (à demain, the French equivalent of TTYL), JTM, (je t’aime,  
‘SWAK’), EDR (Écroulé de rire, ‘lol,’ or, more accurately, ‘rotfl’),  
or A+ (À plus, ‘L8R’).

As is the case with English, French textos are starting to appear  
outside of text messages, including prominent and controversial ads  
for Citroen, which used “C CHIC,” c’est chic, to tout its new line of  
C-cars, and the Banque Nationale Populaire Paribas, which adopted the  
slogan “TA + KENTRER” (T'as plus qu'entrer, ‘you only have to come  
in’) to attract investors looking for a bank that’s hip as well as  
stable, though that is often a contradiction in terms.

According to a report last week in the Economist, last winter,  
President Sarkozy, whom the French call Sarko even when they're not  
texting, complained, “Look at what text-messaging is doing to the  
French language.  If we let things go, in a few years we will have  
trouble understanding each other.”

And he should know about texts and misunderstanding.  Last March,  
Sarkozy, an avid texteur, wascaught messaging while awaiting an  
audience with the Pope, and later in a meeting with Chinese Prime  
Minister Wen Jiabao.  His advisors were apparently so concerned with  
Sarko's disregard for protocol that they warned him to curtail his  
habit in preparation for a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, herself an  
avid mobile phone user.

..but that's not all -- read the rest of the post, and Sarko's most  
amazing (alleged) texting indiscretion, on the Web of Language


Dennis Baron
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

office: 217-244-0568
fax: 217-333-4321


read the Web of Language:

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