The French these days are much more inclusive, they’re more relaxed, so words from the new media, from computers and so on are often adopted wholesale,’’ he says. In Canada in 2011 the Quebecois tried to redefine a hashtag as ‘‘mot-clic’’.
‘‘But you can’t really impose words – you can suggest them, you could say perhaps why they might be better, but ultimately [popular] usage will decide,’’ Dr Moyes says. Of course sometimes there are other reasons the French prefer their own term, Dr Moyes says.
The computer term ‘‘megabyte’’, for example. ‘‘The problem is ‘byte’ [pronounced ‘beet’] means ‘cock’ in French and so megabyte means ... well, it’s unintentionally rude.’’
And that’s why, in France, a megabyte is a mega-octet.
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