France is banning the official use of various English terms related to video gaming. The ban comes from the “Commission d’enrichissement de la langue française” (French language enrichment board), an agency of the French Ministry of Culture.
Authorities say the gaming industry is filled with anglicisms that could be a “barrier to understanding” for people unfamiliar with the gaming world. They say the change is aimed at making it easier for the French-speaking population to communicate. Thus, the Government will no longer use, in its official communications, terms such as “streamer”, “pro-gamer” or “eSports”.
The Board searched French video gaming websites and French magazines to find alternative French terms. It published a list of about twenty foreign (mostly English) terms commonly used in the field of video games with their equivalent, recommended French terms.
On this list, “streamer” becomes “joueur animateur en direct”, “pro-gamer” becomes “joueur professionnel” and “eSports” becomes “jeu vidéo de compétition”.
Although this decree is legally binding on French government employees, it does not restrict the use of anglicisms for citizens or in publications. We can therefore believe that the use of these terms will continue among the general public.
Within the French video game community, reactions are mixed. One gamer expressed his opposition in a Tweet writing: “I am French and I find this absolutely ridiculous, no one will ever use these terms. This kind of ban is completely pointless.”
In a series of responses to a message from Eurogamer, other gamers said that the French versions of the terms sounded more sophisticated than their English equivalents.
On this side of the Atlantic, the ban appears to have mostly gone unnoticed, and only gossip sites have mentioned it.