Dear Alain Rey, Dear Friends,
If I was particularly concerned that we meet tonight
around a friendly drink, it is to pay tribute to the artisans of
the shadow, the brilliant watchmakers of the language you are.
Under the enlightened presidency of Marc Fumaroli, you are at the head of a
four hundred people for whom the
patience, thoroughness and dialogue, but also volunteerism and commitment
personal are the key words.
A commitment to the French language that makes you paladins and
not of fundamentalists. Because contrary to what can sometimes be said
in the media where you can serve as an easy target, you’re not there
to push the English language out of France. If I may sometimes
to use anglicisms, to zap on our language, I know the duty of
vigilance you exercise in your mission, especially in the face of
“Franglais” and the simplified worldviews that it can bring.
I am generally pleased that our terminology system,
of which you are the research and enlightened head, is finally the subject of a
recognition and growing interest in our partners
aware of the growing influence of the Anglo-American
on economic and social issues for which the
Promoting linguistic diversity is a major challenge.
Because the core of your work on language is innovation. You
respond to changes in technique, culture, and
social relations, to allow our language to appoint with
precision of concepts that can be used in everyday
often very specific professional contexts. From this, the general public
is most often not informed, as only 5% of the terms on which
you work are visible in everyday language. The French language, and
it is happy, reinvents itself, in its daily use;
but where your efforts are focused, it is precisely on the
specialized, those language territories that are not affected by this
inventiveness – and this is where you can see that your company, at large
is anything but has been.
Nuclear engineering, materials chemistry, genetics, the internet, such
are the domains, among many others, on which you carry out a
work of goldsmithing which starts from a simple observation: without the words to say it,
we no longer work in French. In law as well,
be able to accurately refer to terms that must be the subject
constant adaptation and renewal, in
changing environments, is a necessity that is also a duty
transparency. As Minister of the French Language, I am
fully the work you do.
The General Commission is also the great adventure of neology. In
your collective dedication to the search for the new word, you yourself
both botanist and planter. As for the young shoots that you
plant in the savannah of uses, you know that you have
not the mastery of their becoming, and this is the beauty of your gesture
generous. Among them, some take and others not. “Butterfly” has
failed to win over “post-it”; conversely, the “mouse” has
in front of the mouse, which easily imposed itself alongside our
screens - without us seeing it coming.
I come back to the terminologists you are. In his last room, Le
True Blood, Valère Novarina makes one of his characters say: Remove the
words of language and you have the truth." In the cave of our words,
your task is to stabilize the road to this unattainable. In doing so,
for the French language, you perform a service badge: that of joining
useful to the nobility.