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Au Revoir to Hashtag in France
January 30, 2013

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One person's hashtag is another person's sharp word.

That's the case in France, where the Government has officially banned the word "hashtag" from online transmissions, most notably Twitter. Instead, French speakers are encouraged to use "mot-dièse," which is the rough equivalent of the English "sharp word."

The hashtag is the #, the number sign or pound sign, that accompanies a keyword in a Twitter post or other online comment. Twitter especially allows users to search for words following the hashtag. For example, a search for "#sports" would result in a list of all the recent posts in which users marked the "sports" as a keyword.

The announcement came from the Commission Généale de Terminologie et de Néologisme, an organization that has pursued similar efforts in recent years. Back in 2003, the same commission banned French citizens from using the English word "email," telling them to use the French word "courriel" instead. Other efforts have targeted the words "Wi-Fi," "blog," and even "Internet."

Just two years ago, a similar organization tasked with overseeing broadcast transmissions banned TV and radio stations from using the words "Facebook" and "Twitter" unless they were the focus of a news report.




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