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French court accepts ñ can be used in national language

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By Euronews
Fañch is diminutive of François
Fañch is diminutive of François   -   Copyright  Reuters

Once threatened with disappearance in order to simplify computer keyboards, the letter ñ has now been officially recognised in a second international language.

An appeals court in Brittany ruled that a couple could call their son Fañch, a diminutive of the common François, overturning an earlier decision that the name could not be officially registered because the letter did not exist in French.

Spanish is the only national language that includes the letter in its alphabet although it features in a number of regional languages, including celtic-derived Bretton, spoken in the northwest region of France.

The decision marks a victory for Breton speakers of Breton against centuries of attempts to standardise French to the detriment of their language.

However, the wider status of the ñ remains uncertain after an attempt by a local senator in March to introduce the letter into official documents in support of the family failed because ministers said there was no justification to add another letter to the alphabet.