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Quebec Language Watchdog Approves New English Terms

Bartenders don't have to call it a "coquetel" anymore.

09/19/2017 10:16 EDT | Updated 09/19/2017 10:23 EDT
SylvieBouchard

Quebec's French-language police have eased up on the usage of some English terms, including "grilled cheese," "cocktail," and "baby boom."

The Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) released a new list of acceptable "anglicisms" for French in Quebec earlier this week.

Words like "legging" and "softball" are more commonly used in Quebec and francophone nations than their French equivalents, leading to their acknowledgement as synonyms for French terms or allowable English terms.

'Linguistic enrichment'


In the past, the OQLF has used its 230-person team to find suitable replacements for ubiquitous English terms, such as selfie (égoportrait), hashtag (mot-clic), and e-mail (courriel), according to The Globe and Mail.

OQLF spokesman Jean-Pierre Le Blanc told the Globe this flexibility with English terms is part of "linguistic enrichment."

"Our policy will always be to aim to promote French terms, but if [English] terms have become part of common usage, we can accept them," he said.

msheldrake via Getty Images
Ceci n'est pas un "sandwich au fromage fondant.

But Jacques Maurais, a former research co-ordinator for the OQLF, said the anglicisms amount to "voluntary enslavement," according to Le Devoir.

Linguist Nadine Vincent told the newspaper the role of the French-language office is not to to describe the usage of the anglicisms, but to guide which terms should used.

Vincent told the National Post that Quebeckers turn to the OQLF to find out what the correct term is.

"If everyone says grilled cheese, that's not a problem. The problem is when the Office says it is the right term to use."

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