France, disgusted by the English language, bans the word 'esports'

The Académie Française is the primary French council tasked with preserving the country's language from the "deadly snobbery of Anglo-American."

Jean Guéhenno célébrant son entrée à l'Académie française avec André Maurois, François Mauriac, et A...
Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

America’s contributions to the English language have arrived in the form of words and phrases like “Hangover,” “Cuck,” and “No Nut November.” More practically, there’s also plenty of tech-related terminology that originated on the go as the internet quickly developed and allowed for professions in streaming and competitive gaming. This arena of video game lingo is the new target of the Académie Française (French academy), a French council founded in the 1600s that oversees the preservation of the country’s language.

As reported by The Guardian, amendments to words such as “eSports,” and “streamer,” have been changed to “jeu video de competition,” and “joueur-animateur en direct,” respectively. Working in conjunction with the French cultural ministry, video game jargon stemming from the U.S. has been given a French equivalent in order to avoid “a barrier to understanding,” for those who might not be as up to date on gaming culture.

Speaking to AFP, France’s oldest news agency, the cultural ministry noted that the video game industry is filled with terms that essentially threaten the integrity of the French language, by making it more difficult to understand. These language amendments became official on Monday, but only impact public-sector workers who are employed by the government.

An example of some training for “jeu video de competition.” Shutterstock

Not exactly new— While the idea of using replacements for “pro-gamer,” (“joueur professionnel”) and “cloud gaming,” (“jeu video en nuage”) is funny to think about, it is less shocking than you might think.

Outside of a very stuffy organization in the French academy, which has warned the country about the proliferation of English words in French, as potentially incongruent with social equilibrium, the introduction of French equivalents to popular language originating elsewhere makes sense.

This purification of the French language has been taking place for decades, with early tech jargon receiving an almost immediate alternative — “byte,” was replaced with “octet,” “software,” with “logiciel,” and "download," is called “télecharger.” The academy has also hilariously dubbed tech terms as “Californisms.”

Still, it’s always a little strange for governing bodies to warn about the dangers of impurity or integration, even if it’s only targeting clunky gamer lingo.