Est-ce que c’est le email ou le courriel? Have you heard that the French government has banned the use of the word “email” (too American) in official documents? Instead, the phrase “courrier electronique” or courriel for short is to be used.

I checked in with Renan Ayrault, a French colleague and friend who is Director, Product Management for CarFax to get his spin on this linguistically sensitive topic. He replied: “Courriel is not a bad word if you ask me, but I don’t think it will become the predominant word. I have seen it used in magazines and newspaper for letters to the editor, but never heard friends or family using it. I just checked on four Web sites: (one of the largest grocery stores / hypermarket chain in France),, (largest ISP), and (largest bookstore chain in France). All were using email or e-mail …so I stand by my comments.”

Zut, alors. Just goes to show that the Internet is a force of nature not even the French government can regulate.