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French language revolution in France

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By Euronews
French language revolution in France

<p>Pourquoi faire simple quand on peut faire compliqué ? <i>(Why make it simple when you can make it complicated?)</i> This French sentence applies perfectly to the linguistic revolution that is underway with the French language…in France! </p> <p>The new spellings, approved by the <a href="http://www.academie-francaise.fr/la-langue-francaise/le-francais-aujourdhui" rel="external">French Academy in 1990</a>, will be effective from the beginning of the next school year in <a href="http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/MEN_SPE_11/67/3/2015_programmes_cycles234_4_12_ok_508673.pdf" rel="external">September 2016</a>, some 26 years after its enactment. Since 1990, both the traditional and new spellings were accepted in examination papers.</p> <p>Officially, the new spelling entered into French national education programmes in 2008, but it was optional. Many teachers, however, have shown reluctance to embrace the reform. France is therefore considered the ‘naughty kid’ in the Francophone bloc of countries. In Switzerland, Belgium and the Canadian province of Quebec, reform has been widely embraced and is being taught in schools.</p> <h4>So, what is exactly this reform?</h4> <p>The reform is based on <a href="http://www.orthographe-recommandee.info/miniguide.pdf" rel="external">10 new rules</a> “to simplify spelling” and removing “some anomalies.” Almost <a href="http://www.renouvo.org/liste.php?t=3" rel="external">2,500 words</a> have been affected.</p> <p>One of the central points of this reform concerns the fate of the circumflex (Rule 4). It disappears on the “u” and “i”. But not in every situation … It will be preserved in case of ambiguity (mur/mûr, sur/sûr – wall / mature, on / course) or in some forms of conjugation (simple past or subjunctive). <i><strong>N.B. Historically, the “^” generally results from the disappearance of an “s.” For example, in Old French, île (island) was isle</i></strong>.</p> <table border="1" style="width:100%;"> <tr> <td><strong>Old spelling</strong></td> <td><strong>New spelling</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>coût</td> <td>cout</td> </tr> <tr> <td>entraîner, nous entraînons</td> <td>entrainer, nous entrainons</td> </tr> <tr> <td>paraître, il paraît </td> <td>paraitre, il parait </td> </tr> </table> <p>Rule 1 states that numbers will now be “systematically connected.” “Vingt et un” (twenty-one) will need to be written “vingt-et-un”. In contrast, Rule 7 states that “welding” is necessary in some cases (words composed of “contre-, entre, extra-, infra”..). Now, “extra-terrestre” (alien) is written “extraterrestre” and “porte-monnaie” (wallet) becomes “portemonnaie”. </p> <p>Rule 2 provides compounds which names one of the elements was the plural the singular … … and vice versa … So, “un compte-gouttes” (dropper) disappears to become “un compte-goutte”, plural remaining “des compte-gouttes”.</p> <p>Another accent affected by the reform is the umlaut. Rule 10 states that it must be moved to the letter “u” or in some cases added in else.</p> <table border="1" style="width:100%;"> <tr> <td><strong>Old spelling</strong></td> <td><strong>New spelling</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>aiguë, ambiguë </td> <td>aigüe, ambigüe </td> </tr> <tr> <td>ambiguïté </td> <td>ambigüité </td> </tr> <tr> <td>arguer</td> <td>argüer </td> </tr> </table> <p>The following words have all being affected by the linguistic revolution.</p> <table border="1" style="width:100%;"> <tr> <td><strong>Old spelling</strong></td> <td><strong>New spelling</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>nénuphar</td> <td>nénufar</td> </tr> <tr> <td>punch</td> <td>ponch</td> </tr> <tr> <td>oignon</td> <td>ognon</td> </tr> <tr> <td>charriot</td> <td>chariot</td> </tr> <tr> <td>asseoir</td> <td>assoir</td> </tr> </table> <p>There is still much resistance to the reform. On social networks, the “^” was chosen to carry the banner of revolt. The hashtag #jesuiscirconflexe is being used to defend the poor “pointed hat”. The fight has just begun. Many messages point out instances where the reform will not be applied and the old spelling will be accepted.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fr"><p lang="fr" dir="ltr">Le seul fait de lire le mot “ognon” suffira à nous faire pleurer maintenant. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JeSuisCirconflexe?src=hash">#JeSuisCirconflexe</a></p>— Léa Héloin (@Lea_Hln) <a href="https://twitter.com/Lea_Hln/status/695123170039328769">4 Février 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fr"><p lang="fr" dir="ltr">Après ognon et nénufar, la prochaine étape dans la braderie de l'orthographe officialisera l'ortografe, logiquement. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JeSuisCirconflexe?src=hash">#JeSuisCirconflexe</a></p>— Ivan Rioufol ن (@ivanrioufol) <a href="https://twitter.com/ivanrioufol/status/695205821114875904">4 Février 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fr"><p lang="fr" dir="ltr">De toute manière, je vais faire ma vieille peau en continuant d'écrire oIgnon, nénuPHar, coÛt… Et bien sûr, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JeSuisCirconflexe?src=hash">#JeSuisCirconflexe</a> à jamais.</p>— Caroline. (@CarolineSlim) <a href="https://twitter.com/CarolineSlim/status/695190604150657029">4 Février 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fr"><p lang="fr" dir="ltr">Adam n'a plus la cote ; il est moins sûr, Eve.<br /> Adam n'a plus la côte ; il est moins sur Eve.<br /> Un accent, ça change tout. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JeSuisCirconflexe?src=hash">#JeSuisCirconflexe</a></p>— Christophe Robin (@XopheRobin) <a href="https://twitter.com/XopheRobin/status/695194110127382529">4 Février 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fr"><p lang="fr" dir="ltr">Ne pas confondre un homme mûr, et un homme mur. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JeSuisCirconflexe?src=hash">#JeSuisCirconflexe</a> <a href="https://t.co/dR1oMBepFj">pic.twitter.com/dR1oMBepFj</a></p>— Bart (@PhoenixBart) <a href="https://twitter.com/PhoenixBart/status/695046428960411648">4 Février 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>