Does anybody remember when the French government decided to ban use of the word “e-mail,” hoping to cleanse the language of English impurities? Well, it turns out it was a French word all along (sorta).
Here’s how I discovered this: There’s a calendar in my kitchen featuring 19th century French ad posters. Today I flipped it to June (not bad for me — usually I wait till mid month) and noticed the word “email” in an ad for a paint brand called L’astrolin. The full text: “L’astrolin peinture email donne brilliant parfait inalterable.” I won’t do a parfait translation, but it means something like L’astrolin paint gives you brilliant, perfect color that doesn’t fade, or change, something along those lines.
And that pesky “email” term? I’ve gathered from looking at a couple translation sites that it’s like a stain or the kind or thing that’s applied to ceramics before they’re baked. Maybe like enamel? (I’m sure I’m off on this and my above translation, so if anyone wants to clarify, please comment!)
Of course, our “e-mail” isn’t derived from theirs, but I thought this was kind of an ironic tidbit anyway.