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Over There (in the UK)

November 14, 2000 at 5 PM

Ever wonder what francophones in

Ever wonder what francophones in Québec say when talking about and "surfing the web" and sending "e-mail"?

Maybe you thought they just said "un download" and "un email", and, well, you'd probably be right. But that doesn't mean that the Quebec government can't hire some ambitious francophones to invent French terms anyhow.

Le signet is an online reference to all these terms, generously provided by l'Office de la langue française.

Some of the terms are bizarre, like "télécharger," which means "to download." But some of them are actually kind of clever. To find a term for "e-mail," they took the original English term, "electronic mail," translated it ("courrier electronique"), and stuck it back together, et voila, you have "courriel."

But what about words like "spam" that have no direct translation? Well, time to get creative. Combining "courriel" with "poubelle," the French word for trash (as anyone who's used a French Mac already knows), they produced a witty pun: "pourriel."

There are in fact 6000 terms in the dictionary, making translating even the most obscure technical terms a snap. Use it for reference...or for linguistic amusement.

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Previously: If you’re like me, you

Subsequently: Good golly, they’ve finally done

November 2000
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