France against videogame jargon: it damages the purity of the language

The gaming jargon is certainly not the easiest to juggle, especially as regards the speaking community of the various non-English speaking countries. It is in fact a jargon populated by words that in most cases have a root connected to an English term that over time has been altered in form or meaning for convey a specific message.

Sony, for example, has drawn up a real one dictionary for non gamers which allows to obtain more precise explanations on the meaning of many common terms (111 in total), allowing even those who are not in close contact with the videogame world to better understand the meaning of some words that are beginning to cross the borders of the jargon to sneak into common usea bit like when the lol it ceased to exist only on forums and chats and gradually landed in the daily life of many.


An inevitable event for some, but strongly opposed by a particular nation, the Francewhere theAcadémie Française – basically the French equivalent of the Accademia della Crusca – took a clear and absolutely contrasting position towards the theme of contamination, going to prohibit the use of certain specific words by official state representatives.

In place of terms like streamer And eSportfor example, the Académie has proposed alternatives that make exclusive use of French words, all with the aim of preserving the purity of the language and making it easier for French speakers to understand words that otherwise would have been alien their language or context. In choosing the new terms, theAcadémie and the Ministry of Culture they have assured that they have consulted magazines and sites that deal with gaming to verify that there were not already alternatives in French used by the community. Here’s how banned words will be replaced:

  • Pro-gamer = Joueur professionnel
  • Streamer = Joueur-animateur en direct
  • Cloud gaming = Jeu video en nuage
  • eSport = Jeu video de competition

The Académie is an institution that has been fighting for centuries in favor of the preservation of the language (it has been active since 1635), going against the use of external terms that could compromise its purity. Last February she also spoke out against the use of words like big-data or drive-inheld responsible for a path of degradation of the French that must not be seen as inevitable. The solution? Adopt equivalent in French to prevent these words from becoming too rooted in everyday use, leading to their assimilation.


These are some of the terms that will be replaced by the respective French phrases when a government official will speak in public on the issues mentioned. The choice of the new French words immediately highlights the problem ofmyopic approach adopted by the Académie Française in the definition of the same, especially as regards the word streamer.

In fact, just take a ride on Twitch or any other equivalent platform to realize that the choice of the term joueur (player) it does not apply to a huge category of streamers who bring content unrelated to the world of gaming every daywhich is why the word was split in two with even the most generic version animateur en direct. This way you have to specify from time to time what kind of content is broadcast live, creating new terms to describe even a minimal variation of the same work that no longer falls within a previous category. If the aim, as the Académie states, is to facilitate the understanding of these words by the French public, it is clear that the choice of the new terms can only create further confusion.

Then there is the discourse of the effective validity of the theme of purity of language, a centuries-old workhorse of the Académie that today seems to reveal itself for what it actually is: a struggle against windmills, against the evolution of the language itself. Indeed, any linguist will be able to confirm how useless and harmful they are attempts to harness a language within a well-defined and immutable enclosurerejecting every contamination and evolution on the side.

On the other hand, as already emphasized in the article, the same choices made by the Académie show how an approach of this type is certainly not the most efficient and indeed leads to loss of nuances and precise meanings that are conveyed by the original terms. The preservation of the language is undoubtedly an important issue for any culture, but its evolution and change are inevitable factors, which indeed certify its good state of health and its ability to adapt and survive in ever-changing world contexts.