E-mail? The French beg to differ

France puts its foot down on English tech-speak, banning the use of the word "e-mail" in all official correspondence in favor of a more homegrown term.

Jo Best Special to CNET News.com
The latest Anglicism to fall out of favor in France is the word "e-mail," now banned from use by government employees.

The word "e-mail" can now no longer be used in French official communication, including documents, memos, the internet and even e-mails themselves.

The General Commission on Terminology and Neology, part of the French Culture Ministry and affiliated to the Academie Francaise--which outlawed the word "Walkman" in favor of "baladeur" some years ago--prefers the French alternative "courriel."

The edict on "courriel," a shortened version of the phrase "courrier electronique," or electronic mail, is not expected to make a lot of difference to the common parlance of French technophiles.

"E-mail" has been in use in Europe for years, and the commission's decision will be largely arbitrary to French speakers, who are particularly fond of slipping the odd English word--"le meeting," "le cash"--into conversation.

The word "courriel" is French Canadian in origin, a French dialect considered a bastardization of the language by traditionalists in France.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.