A Sad Day for the French Language: Le Binge Drinking Gets Its Own Word

Authorities in France have struck yet another "Anglo-Saxon" term from the country's lexicon and replaced it with a domestic equivalent. As of this week, the French no longer engage in "le binge drinking" -- the proper term in la langue française is now "beuverie express" (literally "fast drinking").

The French General Commission of Terminology and Neology made the announcement on Sunday, and France 24 translated their definition as a "massive consumption of alcohol, usually as part of a group, designed to cause intoxication in a minimum amount of time." The French newspaper Le Monde quantified this as having more than four to five drinks in less than two hours -- although the news outlet did not specify the type of alcohol or precise portion size. (The French are well-known for weeding out foreign words from their language, with the Commission recently swapping the word "hashtag" for "mot-dièse.")

But this isn't simply a lighthearted story of overzealous French-language police. The vocabulary change coincides with an increase in binge drinking in France. In March, the French Society for the Study of Alcohol reported that alcohol-related hospital admissions had risen 30 percent in three years. In May, Le Monde published a piece called "Génération 'biture express'" (biture express is another term for binge drinking), while Le Parisien expressed concern about "Un problème majeur chez les jeunes" -- "A major problem among the young." An aide to the mayor of Paris told Le Parisien that the City of Light had seen an increase -- from 15 percent to 25 percent -- in repeated drunkenness in those younger than 18 from 2005 to 2010.

It looks like the country of champagne, cognac, and robust reds has a new problem on its hands.



Egypt's Death Toll Skyrockets

On Friday, protesters filled Tahrir Square in response to Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's call for a popular mandate to "confront terrorism." And in the early hours of Saturday, Egyptian security forces showed exactly what that meant: They opened fire on Islamist protesters, killing at least 65 people.

The attack marked the worst loss of life under Egypt's new interim government, and seemed to highlight the military's determination to break up the pro-Morsy demonstrations in Cairo through brute force. It has been a violent month: Egypt is currently witnessing the worst bloodshed since the 18 days of protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Since the June 30 demonstrations against Mohamed Morsy, at least 265 people have lost their lives to political violence. That total includes both pro- and anti-Morsy protesters, security forces, Copts killed in sectarian violence, and police and civilians killed in attacks in the restive Sinai Peninsula. The true death toll is probably higher. This count relies on media reports and Health Ministry statements, which may not provide a complete accounting of the dead. Furthermore, doctors at the pro-Morsy sit-in say 127 people were killed in last night's clashes, so the official count from that attack could still rise significantly.

This means an average of 9.5 people have lost their lives every day since the June 30 protests. And beyond the staggering totals, it illustrates Egypt's persistent instability: The country has not witnessed two days in a row when nobody was killed, and has suffered through three days when over 40 people lost their lives.

Here is a breakdown of Egypt's bloody month:


June 30: 16 killed

July 1: 0

July 2: 23

July 3: 10

July 4: 10

July 5: 41 (source one, source two)

July 6: 1

July 7: 0

July 8: 54 (source one, source two)

July 9: 0

July 10: 2

July 11: 1

July 12: 1

July 13: 0

July 14: 3

July 15: 7

July 16: 0

July 17: 3

July 18: 0

July 19: 5 (source one, source two)

July 20: 0

July 21: 5

July 22: 4

July 23: 7

July 24: 3 (source one, source two)

July 25: 0

July 26: 5

July 27: 65