Language Troubles of a Tongue en Crise

A Quebec summit lays plans to keep the world speaking French

On Wednesday afternoons when school is not in session, French children can tune in a popular TV game show that has no American parallel. The program confronts young contestants with invidious English expressions that have infiltrated common parlance and invites them to concoct substitutes in their own language. Some of the prizewinning neologisms: for milkshake, mouslait (literally, milk foam); for hot dog, saucipain (sausage bread); for fast- food outlet, restapouce (quick-bite restaurant). Outsiders often dismiss such exercises as evidence of France's obsession with maintaining the purity of its beloved tongue, especially against the encroachments of Franglais. But lately the guardians of...