French Purists Don't Want Citizens To Say 'Smartphone'

They prefer 'mobile multifonction'
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2018 2:40 PM CST
An iPhone with Twitter, Facebook, and other apps.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(Newser) – A society of high-minded French purists have deemed another English-derived word unfit for their language. According to the Local, Commission d'enrichissement de la langue française has zeroed in on the use of "smartphone." Known in English as the Enrichment Commission for the French Language, the group is affiliated with conservative Academie Française, the official authorities on the French language who famously dislike it when words from other tongues make their way into the vernacular, especially English. Instead of ''smartphone," the Enrichment Commission wants French speakers to use the decidedly more Francophone "le mobile multifonction" when referring to the ubiquitous devices, the Guardian reports.

This is not the first time the commission has offered an alternative to the term. Previous alternatives include "ordiphone" and "terminal de poche." The Academie Française has taken issue with other words in the past, many of them related to technology. Those words include "smart TV," "gamer," "hacker," and even "email." In that same order, the commission has suggested the alternatives "televiseur connecté," "joueur," "internet clandestin," and "courriel." According to the Guardian, the official journal of the French Republic (the Journal officiel de la République française) was amended to include "le mobile multifonction," meaning it must now be used by all official government texts. (Read more France stories.)

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