The precursor to the World Wide Web was called Minitel. Launched in France in 1982, these chunky brown machines are now relics in history museums. But at the time, the Minitel was an innovative technological and industrial success story.
Interestingly, it was the French who introduced the concepts serveur, fournisseur de service and autoroute de l’information, which were translated into English as server, service provider and the information superhighway. In Minitel’s last days, an odd Entrer (enter) key was introduced to their keyboards – that simple idea was replicated on every computer in the world.
This shows that objects have a language, too. Read more »
On February 29th, Jean-Benoît Nadeau will give a presentation to the Montreal chapter of the American Medical Writers Association on how to master the business side of writing.
Photo: Lisa Morris
Is French really the language of love?
Because today is St. Valentine ’s Day, we thought the question was à propos. The Forum mondial de la langue française blog (The French Language World Forum) asked their readers to send in their favourite quotes, definitions and declarations of love.
Readers had no problem coming up with quotes that did justice to the four letter word. For example, Richard Seke from South Africa shared, “The verb “to love” is only good when it’s conjugated in the present. If it’s conjugated in the past, it makes you cry, and in the future, you can only dream.”
It’s not easy to combine love and language. Jean Cocteau once said “Le verbe aimer est difficile à conjuguer : son passé n’est pas simple, son présent n’est qu’indicatif, et son futur est toujours conditionnel” (The verb “to love” is hard to conjugate: its past is not simple, its present is merely indicative, and its future is always conditional). Read more »
As an international language, French is said to be waning. English not so long ago surpassed French as the world’s lingua franca and is now the undisputed international language of business, diplomacy and academic exchange. In numbers of speakers, French ranks only ninth in the world, far behind Chinese, Hindi, Spanish and English, and neck-and-neck with Portuguese. It has relatively little economic clout; the combined GDP of the countries where French is spoken places it far behind English, well behind both Japanese and German, and just ahead of Spanish. French speakers seem to be so insecure that they pass laws banning other languages and spend millions of taxpayers’ dollars making sure their language gets used in literature, music and film. Read more »