The 'Académie Française' (French Academy) chose 'courriel', pronounced "koo ryehl" as the official French word for "email," but that doesn't necessarily mean the French person on the street uses it.

'Courriel' is an amalgamation of 'courrier' and electronique created in French-speaking Canada as a portmanteau word; a word that combines the meaning of two words.

It is formed by joining the first part of one word and the last part of the other, as with courriel ('courri', from 'courrier', from electronique). The creation of 'courriel' was promoted by the 'Office Québécois de la langue Française' and endorsed by the 'Académie Française'.

The 'Académie Française', created in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, is charged with defining the French language and elaborating it in its dictionary, which fixes French usage. The 'Dictionnaire de l’Académie Française' is...a prescriptivism dictionary, recording the ways in which French words should be used.

The primary role of the 'Académie Française' is to regulate the French language by determining standards of acceptable grammar and vocabulary, as well as adapting to linguistic change by adding new words and updating the meanings of existing ones.

Since the French have borrowed a large number of English words, especially for new technology, the Académie's task tends to be focused on lessening the influx of English terms into French by choosing or inventing French equivalents.

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