DOWNLOADING LANGUAGE

ilicon Valley has Germany in an ever-tighter grip - or at least the German language, according to the Reuters news wire.

While computer terms in English tend to have equivalent terms in German, users and magazines generally eschew them. Now a leading linguistic authority says the nation should accept reality and follow suit.Wilfried Schuette, a linguist at the Institute for German Language, advises that words like ''download'' should be adopted and put into German dictionaries without change. ''If an English word has gained a general level of acceptance, there's no point in painstakingly trying to root out a German expression for it,'' Mr. Schuette was quoted as telling a newspaper reporter.

That's far different from what's advocated in France, where the Academie Francaise stands a zealously active watch over the French tongue. It's especially on guard against incursions by English, and the ''Franglais'' mix that results.

For the record, about 126 million people speak French. About 124 million speak German. And, around the world, some 500 million speak English.

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