Foreword and author's note


In order to thrive, a language, like the people who speak it, must adapt to the world as it evolves. It must create new terms to describe new realities.

In the last few decades, art has often become a process of cross-fertilization between many disciplines. In order to understand fully what Open Culture is, one must call on sociology as well as on painting and computer science. The present lexicon will therefore include terms that are not necessarily part of the traditional visual arts vocabulary, but are essential for the understanding of modern contemporary. Also included are terms that are not neologisms but are essential to the understanding of some neologisms. Thus, the term "copy left" cannot be understood without referring to "copyright".

In some fields, like information technologies, developments are such that new words appear almost on a daily basis. What is therefore considered a neologism in this field a term introduced since 2000. in some other fields, developments are slower. Usually, schools in painting and architecture take a decade to start, evolve and disappear. In those more traditional fields, we have considered 1960 as a starting point.

The Free Culture Movement was developed in North America on the principles of the Open Source practices and, therefore, was born and has developed in English. Some languages, like German and Dutch, have simply chosen to integrate these new words without change. The same could not be done in languages with different grammatical structures. In French, for instance, the difference between the genders usually calls for two different words when referring to a male and a female artist. A "performer" should therefore be translated as performeur when speaking of a man and performeure (rather than performeuse) for a woman, even though the latest edition of the Larousse dictionary accepts performer for both. The renowned newspaper Le Monde offers its reader a daily newsletter, while La Presse, the largest French-language newspaper in North America offering an infolettre.

The last few years have therefore seen attempts in the francophone world to adapt new terms to the spirit of the language, rather than simply integrating the English term into the French vocabulary.

Unfortunately, not all attempts have been successful, and some of them, either because they are pretentious or, bluntly put, odd, have absolutely no chance of being adopted by the majority of the population. To give but one example, partagiciel, to translate shareware, is doomed to failure.

The present lexicon is therefore an attempt at finding new words that not only describe new realities, but also have a chance to become part of the daily vocabulary of all art lovers. It is an attempt to prove that, even in our globalized world, there is still room for each language to thrive in accordance with its own genius and its own vision of the world.

Serge Marcoux

Author's note

This lexicon is divided into four parts. Since it is designed first and foremost for French speakers looking for the translation of an English neologism, the English-to-French part is the most extensive.

Part one : English into French. The term in English is followed by a definition in French, preceded by its grammatical category. For terms belonging to a specialized domain (for instance, Law) thisdomain is mentioned.

Part two : Some remarks concerning the translation.

      ** means that the term is a proposal, no accepted translation having being found, or that it is a proposal which differs from the accepted translation (in those occurrences where the official translation has no chance of being accepted by the general public). 

      *** means that a translation is advised against and why.

      When several sources are mentioned, the term appears on the same line as the source.

Part three : A French into English index

Part four : the source where the proposed translation has been found.