French

We've all had our opportunity to make fun of the French. Their fries rock, I could take or leave their toast, and the language has a large amount of discrepancies between written and spoken. Add to that the recent tensions between our political leaders and you've got a pretty spicy gumbo.

While the French themselves come off as arrogant and standoffish, I blame this mostly on the language itself. As mentioned above, the written French word bears no resemblance to the spoken word. Entire syllables are truncated to a single guttural sound that leaves phoeneticists scrambling for unused characters. Vowels are ignored, and in their stead, the speaker simply improvises on a set of randomly chosen phonemes.

Enter technology. The majority of these advancements are taking place in the United States by asian programmers, the words needed to go along with the technology are nonexistent. These Americans then use acronyms based on English terms to name them. Common terms like LAN, RAM, ROM and even CD are all based on english words.

The French have resisted this movement, and have lashed out by renaming all of these terms as they fit around the French language.

Before, I thought this was more than a little pompous, and made very little sense, but upon the purchase of a spindle of CD-R's, whose label was translated into a few other languages, including French, I have reason to reconsider.

The English phrase reads as follows:

User capacity is 700MB (736,819,200 bytes)/79 min 57 sec when recorded in the ISO 9660 Mode-1 format.

But in the French translation, the word bytes is replaced by octets.

A byte is an excessively cute term for eight bits, yet another term that means very little as it stands by itself. An octet, on the other hand, is a very accurate and evocative term, explaining without explanation that a single unit contains eight pieces of information.

For your efficiency, French, I give you kudos.

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