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France's national library has raised a "war cry" over plans by Google to put books from some of the world's great libraries on the Internet and wants to ensure the project does not lead a domination of American ideas.
Jean-Noel Jeanneney, who heads France's national library and is a noted historian, says Google's choice of works is likely to favor Anglo-Saxon ideas and the English language.
Can't see any harm in that. I believe the appropriate expression is 'to suit the action to the word'.
They had a very similiar "war cry" when IBM started dominating the early computer market in France. We're probably going to see more state sponsored competition to American companies.
Oh well, didn't work with IBM either.
The French, and everybody else should get in onboard in this project and cooperate with Google.
Well put, Hugene.
Honestly, does anyone have anything to fear from other cultures having a platform? If we could have a bit more of an inter-cultural dialogue the world might be a more harmonious place. I am no more against hearing the Gallic side of things than I am hearing the Anglo-American side. What's the problem here?
To Jean-Noel Jeanneney: stop your Gallic bleating and create your own Google...
PS I work with a lot of European websites (on a daily basis) and many/most of the French ones, unlike sites from other European countries, are only in French (despite being meant for international tourism). These things cut both ways, don't they!
It's the problem of french developer world.
Where are gone those great old time searchengine - Francité, Voilà, laToile. each of them have choose to display search result from google.
There still exist very better alternative in french like antidot, netbooster etc. but the hype is actually on google.
Could the french governement nationalized a search engine like it do with the Train, the telco, and television.
However, Google is an American company - who is going to blame them for starting to scan books from their own culture? Google as a business is not responsible for making available information from all possible sources simultaneously and equitably. Period. If the French or the Germans or any other nation on this planet would like to make their information heritage easily available, they should cooperate with Google by contributing to Google's library project. Google is likely to welcome these efforts because they are a business that targets the global market. They just had to start somewhere.
Any books by French authors written in english in those libraries will be indexed as well. Unfortunately, there probably aren't many. Just as there aren't many books in French libraries written by English/American authors.
Documents in the French language will be tend to biased towards French ideas just as documents in Enlish will tend to favor their authors.
Google is based in America, but is an international business. Google has a large (~50%) non english base of searches, but as others have pointed out - English is their first language and that which they are most familiar with. If the project is successful - I have little doubt it will be expanded to other languages.
I think that Jean-Noel Jeanneney makes a good point, but even if every French text ever written was instantly available in Google - as long as it is still written in French - none of the non French speaking world is going to be able to understand it anyway.
I tried that when I was a kid...only to get my a-s kicked and really cry ;)
most of the French speak English and that's where the danger is.
Only on their CV's!..when actually faced with having to use the "parle Anglais parfaitment" 99% of supposedly fleunt English speaking french people are incomprehensible to anyone other than themselves ..
The reason for this is not their fault but is 3 fold ..
1.English is taught in French schools the same way as French is taught ..ie ..mindnumbingly boringly ..with all the emphasis on grammar ..
2.The learning of and use of English is actively discouraged by the French media and government ( they however all speak the "Anglais" as that is where the "power" is ...the rest of the population are not encouraged to know this ) ..
3.There is nothing outside of France worth knowing about ..so why does one need to speak "Anglais" ...( anyone who doubts this world view needs only to watch any / all french TV news bulletins or listen to any /all french radio news ) .."world events" come at the end after the football...
The whining by the academics that English will dominate ..has amonsgt other aberations resulted in the fact that a percentage of all cinema ticket sales in France has gone for years to the government as a special "tax" ..which is then used to fund the French language cinema productions ..
So when you go to see.. lets say.. "Independance day"..( which is viewed by french academia as a "scandelously anglophone , americanised world view film" ) ..nevertheless there is a percentage of every ticket sold which then goes to subsidize the French film industry ..which whilst it does indeed produce some absolute gems( once every couple of years ) ..is far more concerned with "pistonage" ( who knows who etc ) and "are they speaking french" than .."can they act and is the film any good?" ...
Likewise most Tv and radio ..even the news bulletins are 25% shameless book / film promo's ..with even national prime time TV news ( all "6" channels )running 5 minutes per "prog" to promote the latest parisien organised whatever ...
Ps ..yes ..you did see correctly we have SIX tv channels ..there are also some PPV ..mainly running badly dubbed ( from English )old animal documentaries or year old ( again dubbed from English ) films ..or Eurosport ( yes in France this free service is rebroadcast as PPV! )..
anglophone dominance? ..if what I have available is the alternative then ..YES PLEASE!
Most of the French read English well and that's where the danger is.
What the French claim to understand in written English and what they actually do are very different "animaux"..
I know this from having employed "je parle anglais" or "je sais lire et ecrire l'anglais" french ..as I said "only in their CV "...even in the south , around St.tropez , Cannes , Nice etc ..
The Brits and the Americans are no better at French I know ..but then they don't need to be ...In my experience those European neighbours of France with the best understanding of English and the least paranoia against it's use are the Germans and the "flammand" Belgians and the Dutch ...
Where is the "danger" you refer to ..I would have thought that anything that could help this nation to get it's head out of the "cultural isolationist sand" would be a good thing ..rather than the current knee jerk "English = Bad" attitude here ..
In spite of the antagonism voiced to all things anglophone ..we still have the fastest rate of opening of franchises for the big yellow "M" burger palaces in all Europe ..go figure!
And google is by far and away the most used search engine in France ..market share must be close to 97% of all searches ...this may of course have something to do with the "you can pay to be #1 in serps " tactics of the non google fed "native language" SE's ...Even the French find their results hard to accept as anything other than "paid for spam" ..
Complaining about google is by Mr Jean-Noel Jeanneney is just an attempt to distract the french people from the above ..you call it "smoke and mirrors" ..we call it "poussiere dans les yeux" ...the translation word for word cant be done from one to the other ..but the sense is exactly the same ..
The Brits and the Americans are no better at French I know ..but then they don't need to be ...
Je ne suis pas convaincu >;->
If the population of the Anglosphere (which is pretty culturally isolated itself, let's face it) could all speak fluent French tomorrow but otherwise continued conducting all other business in English, it would be a considerable motivation for a lot more French to become avid English learners, or else be sidelined completely.
As long as a relatively small percentage of native English speakers learn French, I imagine most French wonder why they should reciprocate to any greater degree.
Admittedly la francophonie is one of the only linguistic communities in the world that doesn't feel it automatically has to learn English - Japan is another - but thank God it doesn't. I wish that more communities had the courage to face off against anglophonic domination.
It does any one of us no favours at all to be able to see the world through the lens of a single linguistic prism.
French who have traveled are always dissillusioned when they arrive home by the "propaganda" that they realise they are fed daily about all things outside France ..
Those with any spirit of enterprise at all who have not been to the same school as the "ruling elite" are leaving the country in droves for the UK and the USA ..
The influx of anglophones here is 99.9% retirees as property is still very very cheap ..but with indirect taxation ( mandatory social securty contributions etc ) at 60% of turnover ..no one in their right mind starts a business in France ..
Having said all this ..I am glad to have learned the french language ..which I did relativly late in life at age 35 ..but I do not confuse the extra dimension and richness that having learnt this language gives to my thinking ..with France itself ..
The language itself is as open and versatile as any other such as English , Spanish , Chinese , Arabic whatever..
The country and the majority of it's people are anything but openminded ..they are encouraged not to be .
No country is perfect, no nation is perfect. France may be better of without the French, but they should be praised for their effort to stop the no-brainers from Hollywood and DC.
Maybe a mod should close this thread before it gets dirty ;)
the Frenchmen I've done business with spoke English very well and were certainly not narrowminded...
Agreed 100%...I just wish there were more of them ( ouside of the EnArcs ) ...it would give them a better informed more balanced world view ..
One of the major benefits culturaly of speaking English is that one is then open to all the viewpoints on all subjects and via all media from all the English speaking countries , USA , Australia , India , Africa ..you name it ..some of them disagree with the UK or the USA "worldview " and don't hesitate to say so..good thing ..and if you understand English then for example the UK gov't can't tell you that the Auzzies agree with em when they maybe really don't ...too easy to catch a broadcast or find a website from Auz that say what they really think!
The francophone countries with the possible exception of the province of Quebec are so dependant on French foreign aid or contracts that even when their people disagree with the official French govt line ...their media doesn't ...not if it knows whats good for it ..
Agreed it is difficult subject to touch without "dirty" arguments ...in particular when one side only has 50% of the information needed for informed debate..
One of the really good things about this place WebmasterWorld is that we do actually get to contact and to see the points of view of other countries citizens ..and not just what those who control our respective national medias tell us that the other guy or girl thinks..
this forum i guess is an international webmaster's forum and replys like yours makes someone that is from EUROPE to think that this forum is a GWB voters forum.
I hope brett will take some action about your posting here
PS i am not from France but France belongs to Europe and as a European I respect France the leading country of the EU.I f you are are against France you are against EU.