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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
 
 

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