French Word Police Rule Against ‘Hashtag’

I am feeling a bit proprietary about ‘hashtag’ these days, since Ben Zimmer of the American Dialect Society has researched the word and determined that I was the first to use it, back in 2007. As a result, I was shocked, shocked to learn that the French work police are attempting to make the French people use ‘mot-dièse’ instead.

France Shuns ‘Hashtag,’ Introduces New Twitter Term, ‘Mot-Dièse’

Following a decision from the Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologisme, which seeks to enrich the language by finding French alternatives for anglicisms, France has moved to bar the use of “hashtag” in favor of a new Twitter term, “mot-dièse,” the Connexion reports.

On Wednesday, France announced its decision to scrap the word on the government-run website Journal Officiel, the Local reports. Though French citizens will not be required to use mot-dièse, the government will utilize the replacement term on all official documents and encourage its use in social media.

News of the change to “mot-dièse” – “sharp-word” – spread quickly among French Twitter users as many criticized and mocked the new term, calling it “awful” and “much less stylish.”

However, as many Twitter users were quick the point out, using “mot-dièse” to signify a hashtag is technically incorrect since the word “dièse” denotes the sharp sign (♯), rather than the right-leaning hashtag symbol (#).

Do they use the word ‘tag’ in French? Or some French equivalent? Should the two terms be related in an obvious way?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s