In 2020 in France, the video game sector generated a turnover of 5.6 billion euros. Since 2010, the world video game day. This year, it is celebrated over three days, namely from November 18 to 20, 2022. Far from the clichés of a mind-numbing and solitary activity, the games on the contrary work reflexes, memory and imagination. It is a total art that combines image, sound and programming. RPG (role play game or role play), FPS (First Person Shooter or first person shooting game) or Battle-Royale (battle royale with for example Fortnite). Each game sees the emergence of a community of French-speaking fans who forge their own lexicon to communicate with each other. In June 2022, the Gamers Assembly took place in Poitiers, an event bringing together twelve researchers discussing ludolinguistics. Sophie Kraeber was present there. How do these fans manage to create a language of their own and why? Is this language, this “jargon” perennial? To understand this, we will base ourselves on the results of researcher Sophie Kraeber, a doctoral student in English and Anglo-Saxon languages ​​and literature from the University of Poitiers. She was very interested in oral interactions. Since the field that is interested in these phenomena is linguistics, I will take the opportunity to give some definitions insofar as I am myself “apprentice-researcherin language science. Consequently, I am very interested in these phenomena, hence the interest of understanding Anglicisms in video games.

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English to communicate quickly during online games.

Sophie Kraeber is interested in “borrowings from English in the discourse of French gamers”. A loan is the ” made for a language to incorporate a linguistic unit, in particular a word, of another language (CNRTL or Center National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales). League of Legends game. Video games aren’t the only area that borrows English words. And, as in other domains, the speakers (person who speaks or speaks a particular language) borrow technical terms to refer to technical concepts (within the game). However, they also borrow common words referring to common, non-technical concepts. Thus, these words have nothing to do with the game, but refer to trivial realities. AFK, which stands for away from keyboard, is used to express a momentary absence. The consequence is that anglicisms are numerous since we are talking about a lot of things. There is not always a trend, a model in the language of French-speaking gamers that is creative. However, gamers manage to understand each other. This creativity is also observed at the very heart of the words. This is just one example among many others. But, the verb looter (to recover a valuable object in the game) which comes from English loot (booty) is taken as a verb and Frenchified using endings like -ons, -é, -ant. However, it is also taken as a name. Plus, it’s embedded in half-English/half-French sentences (“There’s a loot there!”).

These choices, made by speakers to express themselves in an original Franglais, are not insignificant. Indeed, they come from a desire to express themselves quickly in a context of competition and with a strategic goal. Moreover, this has been observed by other linguists for other online games such as Overwatch, World of Warcraft. English is a more concise language than French, both in its grammar and in its lexicon. Indeed, the words are generally shorter. Another reason for this massive use of the language of Shakespeare, which is more external to communication, is the predominance of the English-speaking world in the field of video games, which can be compared to the stranglehold it has on the computer/digital field. Video games, which are exported, are always first translated and localized in English. Today and as things move very quickly, we have to question this statement and observe everything with a lot of perspective since Asia (I’m not talking about Japan), Europe, etc., are developing video games and export. But, English remains what is called the vehicular language. This is a llanguage that allows communication between peoples or ethnic groups of different languages. (CNRTL). In fact, English is the most spoken language in the world. The strong growth of the countries of East Asia and the expansion of their soft-power will perhaps change the situation in the near future.

S. Kraeber was interested in exchanges between gamers during online MMORPG or FPS/Battle-Royale games. However, there are a multitude of game genres and each genre, or even sometimes each game, has its lexicon.

English video game

The directives of the French Academy: preserving the purity of the French language against Anglicisms

On the image below, you see the recommendations of the sages of the French Academy as to anglicisms (franglais has not been noted, it is a phenomenon that interests few people). English no longer has its place. Since May 29, 2022, Anglicisms have been translated within the Official Journal of the French Republic (JORF).


The two major common language dictionaries that the French use (Le Robert and Larousse) include Anglicisms relating to games without giving any prescription. As linguists have observed them in a multitude of texts, they are used extensively. Thus, they allow the people who use them to understand each other. Language is a communication tool. And, it’s the linguist’s job to capture languages ​​all the time and expose them for everyone.

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