French Language Police Urge To End Ugly Anglicisms


Kim Willsher (The Guardian) – Ask a French person to get back to you and they are unlikely to do so ASAP. The abbreviation is the latest term to fall foul of the Gallic word police, the Académie Française, which says it is 21st-century rubbish.

The Immortals, as academy members are known, have published a damning condemnation of ASAP in their ongoing campaign to protect what is known as “the language of Molière”.

“This abbreviation of as soon as possible, which is far from transparent, seems to accumulate most of the defects of a language that hides its contempt and threatening character under the guise of modern junk,” the Académie writes.

“The use of developed French forms would be more relevant and would not feature this unpleasant and restraining nature. It is a safe bet that the urgency of a request would be indicated in a more refined manner, and the answer would not be any slower.”

It goes on to suggest dès que possible as the appropriate response.

Another Anglicism to be kicked into touch by the venerated guard dogs of French is score, used as “a strange verb … scorer”, as in j’ai scoré, il a scoré etc.

It says the noun, as in a result, has existed in French sport “since the end of the 19th century”, but laments its transfer to verb “that we unfortunately hear too often in place of marquer”.

“This is an abusive borrowing of the English ‘to score’ and [is]perfectly useless because marquer already fulfils this role.”

The academy was established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, King Louis XIII’s chief minister, but was shut during the French Revolution and then restored by Napoleon Bonaparte.

Its 40 members, each elected by fellow members, hold office for life and are committed to preventing the pernicious spread of English terms. It has even campaigned against official recognition of French regionallanguages.

In February last year the academy elected its first British Immortal, Michael Edwards, 75, a poet, critic and literature professor from Barnes, in south-west London.


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