Here comes the English version. Too bad Internet doesn't come with the accents. My wife corrects some of it, but she has got a lot of work (she's pregnant, and finding clothes that suit you when you're big in France is a full time job), and she's from Wisconsin (I want everybody to be able to understand me, and not sentences like "Hey, where did theey put thaaaat f**cking bubbler, I caaan't drink this beer aaaanymore...").
In this blog, she won't correct me. First, she would delete the bad things I'd say about Wisconsin (cheeseheads, hu? Their Brie cheese looks like plaster to me...), and I need to improve my English. Sorry for the mistakes...
If I recorded what I'm writing, you'd hear somebody trying clumsily to talk in a foreign language, and wondering on how to translate technical words such as "mixette", "couple ORTF" or "fournisseur d'accès".
Here in Freedomland (nicely renamed by a guy named Donald in 2003), there's a council of 40 people named "immortals" (as they are quite old, this is nice to them) whose job is to think on what new words we should use in Freedom (I mean, in French, stay with me, please). To protect and renew the language.
I don't think any other country has the same.
Ok, I know, it sounds stupid and vain to have such a council. But man should recognize that it has been cleverly done:
- They make good dictionaries
- They are kind of funny
- They work for free
Sometimes, they have good ideas. Their point is that French is a rationalist language. For example, "software" and "hardware" doesn't mean anything. What is soft in a program, what is hard in a chip ? It couldn't work in French.
An example for this rationalistic view on our language : France is a latin country (well, a mix of latin and germanic, actually, but mostly latin: less work to do on ourselves...), so it's sometimes kind of macho in its culture.
In French, the objects have a gender. And for each feminine object or concept, if you think of something like it but bigger, it will be masculine. A table is feminine. A desk is masculine. A car is feminine. A truck (sorry, Brits : a lorry) is masculine. The moon is feminine. The sun is masculine. War is feminine. A genocide is masculine.
See? Well, there are some strange exeptions, enlightning some dark issues of our psyche. A dick is feminine. A vagina is masculine... Gives an idea of who is the real chief...
Let's come back to our immortals from the "Académie Française":
They thought of using "programme" for "software", and "matériel" (faux ami : it means "devices", and not "furniture") for "hardware".
But "programme" was already used, so they invented a new word.
I love it. Forty people gathering in a room, with beer and pizzas, and the older saying "ok, guys, let's find a new word"...
After days and nights of talks, asking computer engineers for their thoughts, they came, in the middle of the 70's, with this word : "logiciel".
And it works perfectly. Comes from "Logic", which means, well, logic, and was this old program everybody between 30 and 40 know, that we used in the 80's to understand how a computer works. You know, these old TO7 or MO5 with a tape to save data... A program working with logic (open / close, and no hesitation between), this is the most rationalist word they could ever find.
And sexism is preserved : it's masculine... Remember that there's only two woman in this council. There's also one with Chinese origin, but they found a way to have a Chinese guy named François Cheng...
The logic of the French language was preserved. I even know people, probably lonely french teachers and computer gicks, who elaborated a computer language working with french grammar. See here to know more about it (the funny thing is that there website is German...).
So, you see, we have great and useful organizations here in Freedomland (ok, this is irony...). The sad thing is that 200 millions people speak French in the world. Most of them from Third world countries. And none of them have a sit in this academy. Oh, there are prices and recognition, like the Prix de la Francophonie, but it doesn't go further. Too bad.
Anyway, what did I want to say ?
Oh, yes : translation into English of technical words.
Does anybody wants to help ? How do you call a portable mixing device ? Or the button on some microphones, that lows down some specific frequences ? Or the thing to hold a microphone ?
I promess : despite the fact that my English is poor, I'll try to write as clearly as possible ... and to be as nice as possible with my wife when I ask her to correct it...