La principale fonction de l’Académie sera de travailler, avec tout le soin et toute la diligence possibles, à donner des règles certaines à notre langue et à la rendre pure, éloquente et capable de traiter les arts et les sciences.
The principle function of the Academy will be to work, with all the care and diligence possible, to give sure and certain rules to our language and to render it pure, eloquent and capable of treating the arts and the sciences.
A few examples include:
Ne pas dire
un must have
un chef d'enterprise
dès que possible
l'Académie does not deign to give a translation!
As Sir Michael notes, the notion of regulating what is and isn't part of a language verges on the comical for many Anglophones. English is a language renowned for its adaptability and changeability - indeed, that's been part of its global success. And rather than rejecting new words from the language, Oxford Dictionaries, perhaps the closest thing English has to l'Académie, positively welcomes them. It named 'selfie' as its 2013 word of the year, for heaven's sake!
The problem for l'Académie in recent years has been a few high-profile cases of its pronouncements being out-of-touch and widely flouted. Take, for example, these cases of l'Académie recommending French words which are rarely used in place of the Anglicismes:
Ne pas dire (mais presque tout le monde le dit)
un petit boulot
un parc de stationnement
Nevertheless, I feel like l'Académie is a force for good. French is a beautiful and distinctive language, and it's a noble objective to want to preserve it.
It's hard for an English-speaker to understand quite how invasive Anglicismes are in other languages. I think it's fairly obvious that when Anglicismes supplant existing words, that's 'a bad thing'. But even coining new French words in place of Anglicismes seems like a good idea in some instances.
So, the big question: what's Sir Michael's French like? Brilliant, of course, although as this video of him talking about one of his many books shows, he still has a definite English accent!