Hashtag goes Gallic in French lawbooks

January 25, 2013

(AP)—The French government is redefining hashtag with a Gallic touch. The country that has an academy devoted solely to the use of the French language has given its official seal of approval to a new word for the Twittersphere: mot-diese.

Pronounced 'Mo-Dee-YEZ', it doesn't exactly trip off the tongue. But that's not the point. French law requires that use French terms—and teachers are required to spread the word. New words are approved by the Academie Francaise and written into the lawbooks.

The French word for hashtag, published in the official journal on Wednesday, follows the government's somewhat successful redefinition of email—courriel—and its less successful attempt to persuade people to avoid the word "weekend."

Explore further: Assimilating culture -- what language tells us about immigration and integration

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