académie française

Since we started French, we’ve heard a great deal about Académie Française. (Our instructor gets a dreamy look in his eye whenever he finds a way to work it in to the conversation.) From what I’ve gathered, it’s some sort of academic body of French-language scholars who essentially determine what is and isn’t correct French.

If I didn’t like something about the language, well, blame the Académie. If I didn’t like a pronunciation rule, blame the Académie. Abbey was barking at a squirrel the other day and I’m pretty sure I blamed the Académie for that too.

I was curious to learn a little more about Académie Française, so I did some research. (Thanks Wikipedia.)

Some interesting facts:

  • The Académie is made up for 40 members known as Immortels.
  • New members must eulogize the member they replace before taking their seat (meaning sometimes people  turn down prestigious invitations to join simply to avoid having to say something nice about an enemy).
  • The Académie was officially established in 1635.
  • Of the 719 Immortels, only six have been women.
  • One of the Académie’s responsibilities is to issue official dictionaries.
  • They have issued eight dictionaries so far, with the last being released in 1934.
  • They are still working on the ninth edition, but they’re totally almost done, they swear. They just got really busy and then, you know, the holidays were here so no one could work on it. Now it’s been so long and the internet happened, and that’s a lot of new words, so they kind of wanted to start over. But they really thought they sent you a draft. Maybe check your spam filter.

Looking at the list of past Immortels, I’m disappointed not to see any former FSI students. But fear not: I have a plan! I’ve decided that a 3/3 on my exam is no longer enough. I’m gunning for Immortel-dom. Unattainable? Maybe. But remember that few people beyond dreamy-eyed French instructors really seem to care about the Académie Française these days. It may not be too long before they’re begging pseudo-proficient Americans for trial of cialis

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3 Responses to académie française

  1. Alex says:

    The Académie does not approve of this post.

  2. Acacia says:

    Hehe, love it.

    The Spanish have the Real Academia Española, but somehow I think the French beat out the Spanish in coolness on the history of their respective grammar-vocab-nazi committees/entities/whatever. The coolest bit of info I found in my Wikipedia search to beat out the French was this: “The RAE’s emblem is a fiery crucible, and its motto is “Limpia, fija y da esplendor” (“[It] cleans, sets, and casts splendour”).”

    Le francais gagne cette fois!

  3. nathan says:

    that’s hilarious. the académie française sounds like a Yale secret society.

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