https://www.duolingo.com/parapluie41

2400 French Words Change Spelling

(Source: http://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-france/2016/02/04/01016-20160204ARTFIG00080-la-reforme-de-l-orthographe-de-1990-fait-son-entree-dans-les-manuels-de8230-2016.php)

Sorry I couldn't find an English-language source for the same thing. But for those who can't understand the news article, I'll also explain.

To be fair, this is nothing entirely new. The Académie Française rectified this reform all the way back in 1990. However, with the new scholarly year, students will be presented for the first time with textbooks that reflect the changes to orthography.

These changes include:

  • The accent circumflex over î and û will now be optional, unless it distinguishes two words from each other (such as mur and mûr), or otherwise marks a crucial nuance (dû will remain dû).

  • « Oignon » (onion) and « nénuphar » (water lilly) will now be written « ognon » and « nénufar »

  • The hyphen has been removed from many compound words, with words like « porte-monnaie » becoming « portemonnaie » and « extra-terrestre » becoming « extraterrestre »

  • Some words will change accent in order to reflect pronunciation, such as « réglementaire » becoming « règlementaire »

What do you think? Does Duolingo accept the nouvelle orthographe?

February 4, 2016

29 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

I would say yes, although this needs to be double-checked. Unfortunately, many of these words are not taught on Duolingo (nénufar, for one), so this should not change French learners' lives. In any event, we will still accept both orthographies for the words affected by this reform.

February 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

I did add the new spellings of oignon (ognon), plaît (plait) and connaît (connait) in a few places, but it does indeed need double checking.

February 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Harley070

Yes. I agree with you, Sitesurf.

February 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sarah-Cheung

Oh no.... So it's true?! What a pity! What a shame... I love French the way it was... T^T . Glad that the changes are optional.

February 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/staplesnout

Brrr.... I still use the old orthography in German, because 1. it is what I have learned, 2. it is more logical. "Ognon", are you kidding me? You can't change so many words with one decision. In normal cases, if there are some natural changes of the language, both forms remain in official dictionaries as alternative variants for long time.

February 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda

No one is ever going to convince me to use ognon.

February 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/parapluie41

I feel that I will continue to write "paraître" and "coût" for as long as it's deemed acceptable, because that's what I learned, because I personally find it attractive and because I appreciate the connection to Latin that the accent circonflexe provides. Knowing the origins of the accent circonflexe demonstrates connections between various Western European languages (e.g. forêt = forest) and understanding that was very helpful to me as a beginning language learner. So overall, I personally have a positive kind of emotional relationship with ô, ê, î and û.

That said, as a non-native speaker I will definitely refrain from a real moral or aesthetic judgement because it's not my language.

February 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

The Canadians, Belgians and Swiss made the change between 10 and 15 years ago and, guess what? No one died! France can respect its own rules without problem. People will scream for a few months, then quiet down. They will be laughed at by people reading about their indignation on Wikipedia in 50 years.

February 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/swiftredfoxes

"Il vaut mieux viser la perfection et la manquer que viser l'imperfection et l'atteindre." - Bertrand Russell.

Hello! I can't say a lot about it other than: "What a pity!". Not to overreact, but language is part of human culture; I'm not saying it's the end of the world since reforms are not seldom, just that those who think that French people is being dramatic for having ambivalent opinions over the spelling change of 2,400 of their words could use some empathy instead of acting like: "Yeah, easier French!".

In French, as stated before, the circumflex generally marks the former presence of a consonant (usually s) that was deleted and is no longer pronounced, a clear example is "même (Old French meïsme, Middle French mesme"), http://www.cnrtl.fr/etymologie/m%C3%AAme). I simply see no positiveness in removing the circumflex for non-homonymous words other than simplifying French and my question would be WHY? Just as apostrophes, we won't ever pronounce them, but "its" and "it's (it is, it was)" are different.

What if we got rid of our silent letters and for instance taste became "tast" just as more would turn into "mor"? It's not as if they were irrelevant just because they don't have a sound. They still have a purpose. When it comes to "oignon" I think that at least both ways should be accepted considering its etimology. However, my opinion is (naturally) not crucial in this topic but just as the silent "l" in could and almond, the French language has "silent letters" in a certain words. Should we remove them so we have "amond" and "coud"?

Having a really simple language orthography that represents better the phonetic transcription of it accurately sounds great until we ACTUALLY have it:

February 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/NYC-Rocker

Please explain - what is "truk ki fe pleure"?

February 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/swiftredfoxes

Hello, it refers to “truc qui fait pleurer” (just as Adrien31000 said) represented as it sounds... but it's satire, onions are known because they make you cry.

It's not meant to be taken serious but to show that simple and phonetic doesn't necessarily equal to better.

However I guess my comment was overall confusing because I meant it like “we could have more empathy!” but some thought I myself wasn't familiar with reforms and that I somehow authentically believed that French people suggested to start writing phonetically...

I guess expressing and opinion and expecting it not to be taken subjectively was very naive from me.

Greetings!

February 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/NYC-Rocker

HAA! I see. I just didn't know enough French yet to unscramble your joke. ;) Now I get it! Merci. Tres drole!

February 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Adrien31000

"truk ki fe pleuré" bad speling for truc qui fait pleurer -> Thing that makes you cry

February 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

There actually were many propositions to simplify (and regularize) English spelling. The most successful of them was Noah Webster's, which gave most of the difference in American English compared to British English. And the most notorious failure was Andrew Carnegie's.

February 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/parapluie41

I hilariously was completely ruined for American spelling by a childhood spent reading British fantasy classics like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit and Harry Potter. Those must have been some formative brain language-development years or something, because now despite being thoroughly American I can't for the life of me help but spell things like "grey, colour, defence, manouvre, humour" etc. And I don't think anyone other than my mother (who happens to be an English teacher) has ever noticed.

February 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/parapluie41

I agree with everything you wrote here. Fortunately no actually French people are suggesting that they start spelling the language strictly phonetically -- only anglophones in this thread who don't seem to get how ugly and confusing that would actually be. The actual spelling reform isn't so extreme and also, I think notably, is entirely optional!

February 4, 2016

[deactivated user]

    I totally disagree with "L'Académie Française", I do not care, I will still use the orthographies that I was taught when I was a child.

    February 4, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/Lemarzetta

    Unless you are dealing with a "dead" language, then the language is "alive", growing and changing. Unfortunately, I love french the way it was and prefer they leave it alone. I am that way with old english as well, loving Beowulf in college. That however, is not realistic because languages change over time, grow, morph and contain history, like everything. Just my observations. 8-)

    February 5, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/lindrhound

    I hope it's a joke.

    February 4, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

    Here are two English explanation links :

    February 4, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/iPodXDabc

    I think Oui!

    February 6, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/josephkt

    l'academise francaise is partly responsible for all the bizarre spellngs in the first place they changed the spelling of hundreds of words a 100 years ago for no reason

    February 4, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/hivemindx

    For no reason? I understood that this was to simplify and regularise the written language.

    February 5, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/josephkt

    of course not that makes no sence i'm sorry

    February 5, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/aistobe

    I was recently offered a dictionary for that sort of spelling.

    February 5, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/psilva00

    Oh, and I thought this sort of thing only happened with Portuguese. I see I was wrong. I absolutely don't agree with the changes in the case of PT-PT vs PT-BR so I probably wouldn't be very happy about it happening with French and having to change the way I've always spelt some words just because either.

    February 6, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/YoungSpice94

    I wish EME would've stayed, it would make learning German easier with word endings

    February 7, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/gsbduo
    • 1349

    I'm not sure if this has been posted already, but here's the URL that has links to the 2400+ words that have been changed in the new orthography: http://www.renouvo.org/liste.php?t=3&lettre=a

    February 24, 2016
    Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.