Springtime in Paris is here again
and all along the banks of the Seine
artists are unpacking chalks and oils,
canvases, water colours, and easels,
ignored by preoccupied passers-by
and unaware of the all-seeing eye
of the Académie Française clock.
Above every one of its ticks and tocks,
it’s listening for foreign impurity
on the streets of the capital city,
preferring ordinateur, logiciel, and courriel
to the snappier computer, software and e-mail.
A shadowy presence behind time’s face
safeguards language from the pace
of progress and gender inclusive spelling,
promoting purism and feminist quelling.
Kim M. Russell, 2nd June 2018
My response to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Camera FLASH!
Kerry says it’s time to strike a pose with our photographic challenge for June, which comes with a wide angle and any filter of our choosing.
As soon as I read the words ‘Académie Française’, I was reminded of the purist debate from the days when I studied linguistics at university. I hadn’t really explored it until I started a project about the use of English loan words in French and German advertising. The Académie’s language police started another row last year when they argued that new gender-inclusive spellings being adopted by President Emmanuel Macron’s government, the civil service and academics pose a “mortal danger” to the purity of French.