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The War Against the English Language

Updated on June 19, 2013
Viva la France!
Viva la France!

Like many nations, France, is horribly proud and nationalistic about themselves. Call it conceded but of all the nations in the EU, France continues to feel inferior to the English language. Other countries embrace the language and while France is also, the French government now has declared a linguistic war on English, the language.

While CNN recently made this a headline and a funny one or trite to most Americans, the French have declared war on English throughout their history. Maybe they wished they had never sold the vast Louisiana territory back in 1803 for very little money or had not been beaten in the French-Indian War when America was born. Maybe they are jealous that France was the major world power back when America was born and now? Just think about Justin Bieber, he's a millionaire while his dad or mom makes $40-50,000 a year.

In any case, they the object of the dominance of English as a foreign language in schools, use of English in companies, on TV, in European institutions and the lack of a vigorous policy for spreading French language and culture. English is used universally in business and IT. Specifically, its not just English (as in British English, which they seem to be okay with) but American English. American culture-movies and music drown out similar artists originating in France. In NATO, English is used between differing countries in the field and command levels. On TV, some American shows or movies are no longer translated. In former French colonies in Africa, many use English instead of French. There are many American shopping franchises in France. The French feel their culture has been eroded by the English language. I get it. Many Americans feel the same about Spanish in many US states, where it seems to be everywhere. Large urban centers have TV, radio and print totally in Spanish. There is Spanglish- a mix of English and Spanish, used by many second generation Hispanics.

So, the French Minister of Culture has declared war on American English trying to limit how it is used, where it is used and to what extent. Unlike France, I don't see the US declaring war on Spanish. We will embrace it and marry both languages to an extent.


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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      well, to most foreigners trying to learn English, English is one of the more difficult languages to master because of the nuances to it, pronunciation etc. I hear this all the time. Yet, I consider french and German WAY more difficult to master for an American.

    • CHRIS57 profile image


      5 years ago from Northern Germany

      The English language is the common denominator. English is plain simple. Not much messing with sophisticated grammar. Read a book of 100 pages in English and compare to the same contents in French. You will have to work yourself through 150 pages. That gives English speakers a little advantage over French and other romanic languages. On the other hand English is quite difficult when it comes to align writing and pronounciation. That is where Italian is best.

      I don´t have any bad experience in France, but i speak the language. However the French are very specific about their national pride and culture in particular. But which country isn´t?

    • Vega Vallari profile image

      Nicole Paschal 

      5 years ago from Saint Petersburg, Florida

      Great article. I heard something similar about the French while living in Germany. Some one told me once that it is not nationalism, but rather the French would rather speak to one in perfect French over bad In Germany and Scandinavia, it is much different in my opinion. Extremists aside, they seem rather excited about being multi-lingual and using the English language. Although eager to test my German, individuals would rather reply/speak to me in English seeing I was American ( or at least not German). I know the German government now requires that radio/music channels play at least 10% of German-language media per day if I remember correctly. I was told that they had this idea from France which had implemented stronger protocols years before.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Yes, that is what I have heard for those visiting or living there. If you try to use their language, they are much more friendly.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      When I lived in Europe (Spain and a brief stint in Normandy), the French were considered the assholes of Europe. Even in France, the non-French French people considered the French to be assholes (Normans, Bretons, Provençals, Basques). I heard worse things said about the French in Spain than they did about Americans (and, in fact, except for their distaste for the American government, pretty much everybody in Tenerife beat a path to my door to talk to me about Baywatch, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Michael Jordon and how much they loved Bill Clinton).

      That said, I had little to no bad experiences in France. Paris is full of pricks, but so is every other big city. Try to use the language and you get a lot of leeway from the French.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Matter of opinion, of course.

    • maxoxam41 profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      In what way French is inferior? I consider all languages equal. Isn't it the right of any country to oppose the invasion of a language? After all the Americans see their language as American not English. In matter of languages, I am a purist. Why to say sandwich if you have casse-croute? Maybe instead of jealousy the French want to keep the beauty of their language. Which former colony speaks English instead of French or their native language? You underlined it well, it is English not American that is spoken internationally. Then since it doesn't bother, let's call a lawyer a barrister. You can't draw a parallel between the Spanish in the US and the English in France. It is inaccurate.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Maybe, the thing is that English is the main foreign language being taught there in schools already because of the trade and industry, so there will be no real need. I do not see ever that American schools offering languages other than french and spanish in the middle or high schools.

    • my_girl_sara profile image

      Cynthia Lyerly 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      Like it or not, America is still the dominant culture and economy for now. And because of that, English will be the dominant language. When the Chinese are in that position, their language will become dominant.


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