The French Ministry of Culture and Communication, better known as the language police, added a decidedly un-French term to its approved lexicon on Sunday. From now on, chugging alcohol with the sole motive of getting smashed is no longer “le binge drinking” — it’s la beuverie express (literally, fast drinking).
French authorities are well-known for combating the encroachment of English into the Language of Love, most recently by creating a domestic equivalent for hashtag: mot-dièse. The authorities’ determination to keep their language free from the vulgarities of English, however, reveals a growing problem in France. After all, if binge drinking weren’t on the rise, the government would have little reason to create its own dictionary entry for the phenomenon.
Binge drinking has gone largely undocumented in the country, with the assumption that such crass methods of imbibing were solely for those in less-civilized nations. Au contraire. Last month, the National Institute for Prevention and Health Education found that 25.5 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 15 and 30 admitted to having six or more drinks on one occasion over the past month, according to the International Business Times. That many drinks at a time seems to fit the official French definition of la beuverie express, “the massive absorption of alcohol, generally in a group, aimed at provoking drunkenness in the minimum amount of time.”
Binge drinking is an unusual foreign term to be given a domestic word in France, since the commission has largely devoted its efforts to appropriating technology terms like cloud computing. No word from the French authorities if it’s less problematic to engage in la beuverie express than binge drinking.