• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
How 2,400 French words are getting a spelling makeover
Photo: AFP

How 2,400 French words are getting a spelling makeover

Oliver Gee · 4 Feb 2016, 11:45

Published: 04 Feb 2016 11:45 GMT+01:00

In a bid to simplify the French language, the ministry of education has reminded schools to implement a series of spelling changes dating back to 1990, that appear to have gone under the radar until now.
 
There are 2,400 spelling changes in total, that were recommended by the Académie Française - the guardians of the French language 26 years ago.
 
Here are a few to keep in mind, although if you are a traditionalist you can still use the old spelling if you so wish.
 
Perhaps the headline change, the one that has really got people's eyes watering is the Oignon, the French word for onion will lose it's "i" and become ognon.
 
Photo: Thad Zajdowicz/Flickr
 
Nénuphar the traditional word in French for "waterlily" becomes nénufar
 
Perhaps the most controversial change or the one that has got most traditionalists' blood boiling is the dropping of the circumflex accent (^) on certain words. 
 
Disparaître (to disappear) will become disparaitre and in the same way paraître, meaning to appear will become paraitre. 
 
S'entraîner (to practice) will become s'entrainer.
 
Maîtresse (mistress, teacher) will become maitresse in future.
 
Coût,the French word for cost will become cout.
 
And then there are the hypens that will drop.
 
Pique-nique, or pic-nic becomes piquenique or picnic.
 
Week-end becomes weekend and Mille-pattes (centipedes) becomes millepattes
 
Photo: tontantravel/Flickr
 
Porte-monnaie the French word for purse or wallet will become portemonnaie. Extra-terrestres (extra terrestrial) becomes extraterrestres.
 
There will also be changes to the plural form for words with hyphens.
 
Des après-midi (afternoons) becomes des après-midis
 
some words will also see the acute or aigu accent, which points to the right and upward change direction to become a grave accent.
 
So événement will be évènement and réglementaire will become règlementaire.
 
Story continues below…
There's also an effort to Frenchify certain words borrowed from the English language.
 
Also "words borrowed from another language will form plural in the same manner as French words French and are accented according to the rules that apply to French words."
 
So des matches, des misses and revolver will become des matches, des miss and révolver.
 
And the changes also recommend using Frenchier versions of new words so leader will become leaduer to fit with the pronunciation.
 
 
 
French onions to lose the 'i' as spelling changes spark uproar
 
 

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French hiker found alive after five nights in Pyrenees hole
Photo: AFP

A "miracle" survival story from the Pyrenees.

How the fuel crisis is harming the French economy
Photos: AFP

Experts are saying the current fuel crisis will have "serious consequences" for French business. Here's how.

France to see 90,000 security staff on patrol at Euro 2016
Members of French riot police take part in a mock terrorist attack exercise at the Georges Pompidou stadium in Valence. Photo: AFP

France has vowed to do "everything possible to avoid a terrorist attack" at the Euro 2016 tournament.

List of French targets found in Adeslam's home
Photo: AFP

Areas of Paris, Marseille and Toulouse were on the list of possible targets for an attack.

The trials and tribulations of moving to rural France
Moving to rural France is not all rosé and cheese. Photo: Philippe Rouzet/Flickr

Moving to rural France can be a dream come true, but it doesn't always work out as planned.

Opinion - Strikes in France
Why the French are right to go on strike
Opinion: Why the French are entirely right to go on strike all the time. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP

There are good reasons why the French go on strike a lot.

LATEST: Where in France the petrol shortage is biting
Photo: Essence

The latest estimates say some 4,000 of the country’s 12,000 petrol stations are now out of fuel or running low.

IN PICTURES: The fuel crisis around France
Photo: AFP

The fuel crisis in France has made for some striking photos.

A complete guide to France's (many) upcoming strikes
All photos: AFP

A rundown of all the strikes in France today and in the coming days and weeks. Good luck.

Foreign investment rises in all of Europe except France
Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

France is the only country in Europe to have seen a net drop in foreign investment this year...

Society
Opinion: Why the French are absolutely right to go on strike
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
National
Here's why both sides despise France's labour reforms
National
Who is really to blame for the fuel crisis in France?
How to avoid running out of fuel if you're coming to France
National
Here are the parts of France hardest hit by the fuel shortages
Travel
It will soon be time to say 'au revoir' to the Paris Metro ticket
Culture
Revealed: The ultimate sex map of France
National
Migrants at Calais camp given dignity in death
International
How good is security at Charles de Gaulle airport?
Culture
How to make a traditional French cassoulet
Culture
IN PICS: Commuter trains in Paris get royal makeover
International
Terror attack 'likeliest cause' of missing EgyptAir plane
International
Who was on board the missing EgyptAir flight from Paris?
Lifestyle
New map reveals Paris flat prices by Metro station
Culture
Paris: Here's how to find French cinema in English
Culture
How to say 'OUCH' in French (and ten other sounds)
National
Get ready: France to be hit by week of transport strikes
Culture
France readies for first national 'motorway party'
National
Is this the eco-solution to France's wild-peeing plague?
Sport
Paris mayor wants Seine to be 'swimmable' before Olympics
National
IN PICTURES: Police car torched in Paris protests
National
Why there's another rail strike in France and more to come
National
Why does 'everyone in France hate the police'?
2,736
jobs available