The Académie Française, the most prestigious institution for language and literature in France has elected Alain Finkielkraut as its most recent immortal.
The Académie was established in 1635 and consists of 40 members, known as les immortels (immortals). This elected body acts as the official authority on the French language and publishes the official dictionary. In recent years it appears these “language police” have been fighting to eliminate Anglicisms. They discourage borrowing words from other languages and as a result have condemned the use of terms such as score, email and ASAP. The immortals consider this to be 21st-century rubbish, and encourage the French to use the traditional words, marquer, courriel and dès que possible.
In order to distract them from this losing battle, the immortals have been tasked with adding new words to the dictionary. Unlike the workforce behind the Oxford English Dictionary, who publish revisions 4 times a year; the Académie Française does not work tirelessly to keep up with the times, instead choosing to fight to protect the French language and French identity.
Alain Finkielkraut is a French essayist and public intellectual. He studied modern literature and has notably given his opinions on a wide variety of subjects, as a result, he is often seen on talk shows in France. He is a strong supporter of Israel, deplores what he sees as the deterioration of Western tradition and he has a relentless hatred for anything that threatens to compromise French identity. Because of this, he has been likened to Nigel Farage.
The appointment of Alain Finkielkraut has been met with controversy; in fact he only received 16 of the 28 votes on offer. M.Finkielkraut openly attacks multiculturism, yet doesn’t like to be associated with those who practise what he preaches. He is dismissive of the working class, and despite his obsession with defending l’identité française; he has a limited grasp of the true meaning of France itself. He stated, “We, French, created women, literature and cuisine. No one can take that from us.”
Alain will surely be a great candidate for protecting the French language. However, many believe that his election shows support for his other views and beliefs. His behaviour outside of the Académie will undoubtedly be under scrutiny now more than ever.
16 April 2014 14:48