Linguistics Nerd Camp—Bethany Carlson SpecGram Vol CLXIX, No 4 Contents From the Archives!—The Black Box—The SpecGram Archive Elves™

Académie Française Has Banned Conlanging, Again

SpecGram Wire Services

Paris, FranceToday marked the 85th consecutive year in which l’Académie française has banned conlanging. The convened panel of Immortals (as members are officially known) passed the measure, a terse 400 words in French (or 70 in its English translation) in a twelve minute discussion that opened with the reading of a passage reminding everyone that the Immortals’ resplendent green uniforms were adopted specifically to denote the military spirit needed for “The War on Conlanging.”

Critics of the move have lambasted l’Académie. One detractor, speaking on condition of anonymity, spoke at length to our reporter on the subject:

“People who conlang inevitably learn about the actual workings of natural languages and learn that prescriptivism is unrealistic made-up stuff concocted to curtail the classes ouvrières and limit their upward mobility by making it impossible for them to even rival the bourgeoisie in their French due to lack of training in this unnatural abomination of prescriptive rules. Now in an attempt to cling to their power, l’Académie française have realised what is at stake when given their increasing amounts of free timewhen not busy vandalising the banlieuemany young underclass French take up conlanging and learn about the last instrument of linguistic slavery. They’d rather all these kids take up parkour, or keep vandalising for that matterwhat’s the difference anyways? ‘Just don’t touch our beautiful, god-given and well-guarded language!’ ”

Supporters are few and far between, but quite vocal. Our reporter caught up with Pierre-Marie-Edouard-Antoine-César Dupont de l’Autre Côté, of Château-Vieux, France, who had this to say:

“I must say we are not ze English. La francophonie will never become les francophonies, as you ’ave your World Englishes. While your speech community is composed of nothing but splinter groupes, who even dare to ’ave different orthographies like ze Americans and ze British wiz zeir ’ard labour and labor (which, of course, is entirely ze French labeur), such a zing would never ’appen inside ze francophonie. Zis is because we display solidarité amongst ourselves, or perhaps, allegiance to ze France continentale. As such, once a year, we ’old a summit of ze Francophonie so zat we can make sure zat no member of ze speech community strays off ze course of préscriptivisme. As you’ll see when you visit one of ze beautiful and linguistically ’omogenous countries of ze francophonie, zis stratégie is very effective. It would even be more effective if we ’ad more money from Bruxelles to pay more teachers to teach our beautifully ’omogenous language and world-famous littérature to ze poor kids in ze banlieue instead of funding zose dubious so-called sociolinguistes to go into zese cités to merely describe (perish ze zought!) ze degenerated speech which one can ’ear zere. Now go, you English [redacted] and eat beef! Vive la République et vive la France!”

Outside experts expect this move to have every bit as much effect as l’Académie’s other initiatives.

Additional reporting in Paris provided by Run Bau and Pük Mekavik.

Linguistics Nerd CampBethany Carlson
From the Archives!The Black BoxThe SpecGram Archive Elves™
SpecGram Vol CLXIX, No 4 Contents