Txt msgng in Frnc: Parlez-vous SMS? A new threat to the French language

The baccalauréat exam season approaches, and with it ritual agonising over the standard of French spelling. These days, fingers are pointed not only at progressive teaching, the decline of the dictée or the legacy of May 1968. The new culprit is text-messaging.”Look at what text-messaging is doing to the French language,” lamented President Nicolas Sarkozy in February. “If we let things go, in a few years we will have trouble understanding each other.” Most secondary-school pupils have their own mobile telephones, and they use an abbreviated phonetic language to communicate. A2M1, for instance, means à demain, or “see you tomorrow”. JTM is je t’aime (I love you). Or try: Ta HT 1 KDO? (T’as acheté un cadeau?, or have you bought a present?).

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