Before you begin working your way to foreign language fluency, it helps to understand the culture behind the language you’re learning. After all, language exists to help a group of people express their ideas and beliefs. France is an old country with a rich history and culture. As you begin your French language program, gaining a strong grasp on this history, the values, and the etiquette will help you rapidly achieve success. In particular, France hasn’t always been plugged into the internet, previously, many throughout the country relied on a device called the “Minitel” before transitioning to “Le Web.”
The French people are normally good with gadgets, so it was unusual that it took so long for them to get on track with Internet service. This was due in part to the Minitel, a small computer they introduced to many areas of the country such as post offices and the workplace. This minicomputer allowed access to many services, to include train and airline bookings, directory enquiries, and theater, cinema, and restaurant bookings. Minitel provided a lot of services that are now available through the Internet. People were able to hold conversations, play games, view advertisements, and use many other services on a daily basis. There was a Tele-Market called 3615 TMK, that offered a service for Parisians to order groceries for same-day delivery. Minitel had services similar to Cortana and Siri; Claire and Sophie provided personalized information by utilizing natural-language interfaces. Billetel was a service similar to Ticketmaster, and there was a service similar to telebanking.
Minitel went out of service in 2004 and the French now access e-mail, called “le courriel,” and the web, known as “la toile” or “le Web.” Web surfers are known as “internautes.” As of 2017, 85% of French households (23.7 million households) had Internet access, with 47 million users in January 2015. Approximately 95% of 18 to 24 year olds used the Internet every day, mostly on their smartphone.