Whether or not we talk about it on a daily basis, politicians have always argued over what the "national language" should be. Now French president Emmanuel Macron has thrown his hat into the proverbial ring, campaigning for French to be the "world language."
According to Telegraph, Macron took to the stage on Tuesday (20 March) "urging Francophone countries to resist" becoming too English.
“France today should be proud of being one country among others that learns, speaks and writes in French,” he told the Académie Française, an august body of luminaries that has struggled for decades to turn back the relentless tide of English expressions flooding into French. “French should become the language that creates tomorrow’s world.”
Macron has become somewhat of an internet celebrity as well as a politician, inspiring such catch-phrases as "France is back" and "start-up nation."
Macron, who is the first French president to ever "readily give interviews in English," was criticized bt French commentators. Apparently, they think their president has become too fond of English, using the aforementioned catch-phrases as well as other English expressions in his speeches.
But Macron is not letting their words bother him. He claims "promoting French does not mean shutting off France to other languages" but instead shows that "French and English can coexist as major international languages." As the world's sixth most spoken language, it is mostly used in former French colonies in Africa, according to Telegraph.
Macron is asking these former colonies to "not emulate Rwanda ... that has adopted English and joined the Commonwealth in 2009."
Outside of the political spotlight, on the everyday French streets, shop owners and business people are putting signs in English up in their windows to attract more customers. Most, developing consultant Cyril Gaillard says, "think that it's more funky, more fun and more modern to use English. They think French is an uncool language."
According to The Guardian, Macron wants to spend "hundreds of millions of euros" to boost French speaking and reading around the world.
French, Macron claims, is a "language of freedom."
“The situation now is quite paradoxical. English has probably never been as present in Brussels at the time when we are talking about Brexit,” he said. “This domination is not inevitable. It’s up to us to set some rules, to be present, and make French the language with which one has access to a number of opportunities.”
Macron also announced that "a castle in Villers-Cotterêts north-east of Paris would be given a €200m (£175m) refurbishment as a global centre for the promotion and study of the French language."