Mark Liberman at Language Log has a post discussing political blogs in France. He makes a number of interesting observations; here’s the meat of the post:
The first thing that struck me about this phenomenon was that no one is paying any heed to the decision of La Commission générale de terminologie et de néologie at the French Ministry of Culture, back in the spring of 2005, that the proper French word for blog ought to be “bloc-notes” (i.e. “writing tablet”), or “bloc” for those in a hurry. In all the newspapers, as well as in the blogs themselves, the blogs are just “blogs”.
To an outsider, it seems typique that the French government has an official neologism commission, rostered with an all-star cast of academicians, university presidents and the like, and supported by 18 specialized sub-commissions to do the real work. The neologism commission itself is one of the many activities of the délégation générale à la langue française (DGLF), which “élabore la politique linguistique du Gouvernement en liaison avec les autres départements ministériels” (“elaborates the language policy of the government in liaison with the other ministerial departments”), and acts as an “organe de réflexion, d’évaluation et d’action” (an “organ of reflection, of evaluation and of action”)…
The second thing that struck me about these new political weblogs is how small their readership is, by American standards. The blog of Michel Onfray is the most popular of those hosted at Le Nouvel Observateur, (blogs.nouvelobs.com), which an article in Le Monde calls “la plus spectaculaire car la plus massive et la plus prestigieuse” (“the most spectacular because the most massive and the most prestigious”). Onfray’s name was featured in large type on special news-kiosk posters everywhere I looked. But according to the article in Le Monde, Onfray gets less than half the traffic that Language Log does, and thus less than 5% of the traffic at Instapundit, and less than 1% of the traffic at Daily Kos.
(See his post for the many links he’s attached to those paragraphs.)
I’m struck by the same things he is: “bloc-notes”?! Donnez-moi un break. No wonder everybody ignores the commission. And 3,000 visitors a day is massive et prestigieuse? Le tout Paris is a small place.