This isn’t the first time that the French have gotten involved with shenanigans on Twitter, but today the French government has announced that they’re getting rid of the hashtag and replacing it with what they’re calling the “mot-dièse,” or “sharp-word.” However, citizens of France won’t be required to adopt the new style, but the government will be using it for now on in official documentation.
The decision was made by the Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologisme, which seeks to get rid of common English terms in the French language by finding proper French alternatives. However, one possible issue with the new phrase is that “mot-dièse” denotes the sharp sign (♯), rather than the right-leaning number sign, or the hashtag symbol on Twitter (#).
It turns out that the rise of social media and various other technologies have resulted in the subsequent rise in the use of English slang words in foreign languages. A spokesman for the Office Québécois de la Langue Française said that “borrowing too many words from English opens the door to a mishmash of French and English.” This could possibly have an impact on French phonetics and grammar, and not just terminology.
Again, this isn’t the first time that the French have criticized Twitter’s features. Hashtags have been a problem for the French government in the past after racist hashtags, such as #UnBonJuif (“#AGoodJew”), raised a cause for concern in European country, and local courts have been in battle with Twitter to handle offensive content.