Académie Française changes spellings of over 2000 words
The French language council, the Académie Française has voted to change the spellings of over 2,400 words in an effort to simplify the language. The changes are to come into force at the start of the academic school year in September 2016. Outrage has erupted in France after the move was announced with angry French citizens taking to social media to criticize the move.
Académie française proposes language changes
Académie française is the pre-eminent French council for matters pertaining to the French language, and in 1990 proposed to remove the circumflex from the french alphabet. However their decisions were approved as recommendations and not as obligations, and were ignored by school textbook editors and most educators. However it was reported that the Sarkozy administration's Education Ministry approved the changes in 2008.
What are the proposed changes?
In all, there are 2,400 changes, with the most controversial one seeing the circumflex accent disappear from above the letter i and u. Twitter was abuzz with how, "I am sure (sûr) your sister is fine" will now be, "I am on (sur) your sister she is fine". Other changes include getting rid of a lot of hyphens, in words like porte-monnaie (wallet).
What is the Circumflex?
The circumflex is the peaked accent (^) looks like a hat. It goes over vowels and in some cases it changes the word's pronunciation, while in others it serves to distinguish homonyms.
How did people react to the news?
Many French citizens took to Twitter and argued that the changes were "dumbing down" the French language. One user argued "To simplify, is to become poorer. A language is rich and beautiful precisely because it is complex." The vice-president of France's far-right Front National party said, "the French language is our soul". The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, dubbed the reforms "absurd"
Not the end of the circumflex
France's education minister has said the changes will not culminate in the end of the circumflex, and that old and new spellings will both remain correct.