Originally Posted by AJ Starr
Thanks, that is great to know about the hyperlinks. It will make reading non-fiction items so much easier.
I had seen you use the word "liseuses" but I am fuzzy on how to pronounce it. Also is the basis French or is it just made up? [By the by, in my school days, aeons ago, my French class teacher said that the French language was strictly controlled to elivate new, "slang" words, as we do it here in America. Is this still true?]
yes, i agree, what's the point of reading on a device if you can't use things like links ? makes life a lot easier, definitely.
liseuse is pronounced sort of like "lee-zeuhz" with the last vowel pronounced like the e in "her". it actually is a real french word which has got a whole slew of meanings including a lamp to read by, a short jacket worn by a woman to read in bed, a protective book cover, a knife used to cut pages (that one is pretty archaic)... it litterally means "reader" so it's an obvious candidate for a reading device and it's becoming fairly common for that use in french. i guess you saw our whole thread about naming the devices, it's since then that it's been picked up by some for using in english as well.
as for your question, the Académie Française is *supposed* to manage the introduction of new words into the french language and what is considered correct use of the language (it's a living language so it evolves). they are mostly on the lookout for things like using english words when a french equivalent exists, or sometimes they try to invent new words for new technology (like the ill-fated "courriel" for email, from "courrier", mail, and "électronique". also "pourriel" for spam : from "pourri" rotten and "électronique" again... nobody says that really ; we all just say "mail" and "spam". it's shorter).
they also have sometimes tried to invent new "french" words for things which were being used in english, but that doesn't work so well either. they tried to get us to say "fin de semaine" instead of "weekend" but "weekend" is only 2 syllables and can be abbreviated to 2 letters ; nobody says "fin de semaine" instead of weekend (although we do say it when we actually mean "the end of the week" which is the litteral translation).
they don't have much to say about slang though ; slang by nature has problems with authority
so it just keeps getting invented and used. the french language has a very long and rich history of slang actually and slang is in fact a cherished aspect of the language and culture by many, especially writers. if a slang word becomes common enough, the académie might say that it should be included in the dictionary, and then it becomes official.
a lot of new french words are invented in québec ; they've got some sort of académie too and they invent all sorts of things. i think actually courriel and pourriel come from québec. maybe in canada they actually use them...