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Spelling Reform

Posted: Fri 05 Feb 2016 12:10
by martyn94
A wonderfully French fuss has broken out over the fact that some spelling changes have started to be reflected in school textbooks. It has everything to remind you that the place is bonkers.

First, they were promulgated by the Académie in 1990: if there's anything sillier than having a language police, it's having one whose recommendations are ignored for 26 years.

Second, though mostly intelligible, they are not compulsory: they just set up alternatives which are now acceptable. The Académie thinks it is now OK to put "ognons" for "oignons", but any adult (for example a prospective employer) is still going to regard it as illiterate for the next twenty years or so.

Third, they just introduce new arbitrary rules: it's OK to lose the circumflex on "î" or "û", for example, because it doesn't change the sound, except for a string of cases where it still isn't.

Fourth, some of it seems bonkers or silly. "Nénuphar" and "nénufar" are now both OK (because the "ph" is an "etymological spelling" of a non-French word) but still not (so far as I know) "farmacie" as well as "pharmacie". And you can now say "weekend" as well as "week-end" (which may be a comfort for us anglophones), but who is going to give a light if they are already in the habit of using franglais?

Still, if you are ready to study the full 2000 instances, you will be able to help with the kids' homework.


Posted: Fri 05 Feb 2016 14:30
by Kate
Haha...and homme mûr against homme mur. Does the first even exist? :lol:

Posted: Fri 05 Feb 2016 16:20
by sue and paul
It's funny...I just finished reading Le Passe-Muraille, novella by Marcel Aymé. The true homme-mur

Posted: Fri 05 Feb 2016 16:44
by martyn94
Kate wrote:Haha...and homme mûr against homme mur. Does the first even exist? :lol:
Maybe not. But if you ever did find one, you wouldn't need the circumflex to tell you what sort you'd got. Or then again perhaps not: maybe they are the strong, silent type. Or else they all come from Mur de Bretagne, the only hit I found on google without the circumflex.