Parlez-vous Computerese ?

Help, au secours… It seems that I don’t understand French Computerese… Is it an unknown symptom of Covid-19? Like losing your sense of taste? I feel very uneasy about this…

My first computer, with 8″ floppies, running on CP/M.

As you probably know, a language has many different facets. The spoken form, for instance, can be quite different from the written form… and in my case, even though I speak French, I struggle to understand French Computerese…

Computerese is a fairly recent language that was born (I believe) in America. Being an early fan of the computer brotherhood, I embraced Computerese at its dawn. But speaking English Computerese does not necessarily mean understanding French Computerese.

French is far more verbose than English, and it often takes twice the amount of words to express the same idea. So, a simple Anglo word can morph in a quaint French expression that is understood only by French insiders… and I am not one of those.

A few days ago, a  friend asked me to replace her Facebook password. It seems that Facebook does not like you to mess with this area and it does not make the process easy. And this routine becomes even more challenging under unusual conditions.

My friend is using a PC running on MS Windows… in French…  these two combined factors added to my perplexity.

Originally, when I started working in the US, everybody used computers running on the Microsoft architecture and so did I. After a while, I became fairly knowledgeable about PC Computerese.

But later on, tired of the increasingly frequent Microsoft updates, I switched to an Apple computer and started losing touch with the Windows world.

When you are not familiar with it, navigating Windows 10, in French, can be intimidating. It is a little bit like speaking French with a Haitian.

To make a long story short, I finally got the job done, but I am not sure that I can still speak French. To reassure myself, I will try to sing the first bars of La Marseillaise…

Allons enfants de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé…

 So far, so good… I might live after all…

Regardless how bored you are, listen to Uncle Alain, and remain socially distant for a while longer!


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