Friday, June 23, 2006

French Earth

The French have unveiled a project much like Google Earth. (They allow users to zoom in on satellite images of the planet--well, France for theirs.) As google's maps (including Earth) are not very high res when leaving this country and a few other spots on the planet this should be good, but when I heard about this I was reminded of the peculiar sense of French nationalism. This is a nation that has the Académie Française which, among other things is dedicated to Frenchifying--mostly English--words. The idea is that a word with a foreign origin (like, say, "email") being adopted by the French more or less as is will dilute the language and take away from the identity of the French people. Not that this is all that different from our congress naming English the national language or the like, but if "email" is going to lead to the downfall of your language, then it is probably already headed there.

Of course when they name it "La Terre Froogle" they will end up with a whole other problem of words costing them.

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