Modern spelling of French vs Old
I was looking to resolve some issues of spelling, now, in France versus the past and found these helpful tools.
Firefox addon (pick French dictionary of your choice, see below):
In 1990, le Conseil supérieur à la langue française (the High Council for the French language) and l’Académie française (the French Academy) made a spelling reform which concern thousands of words. This reform is not mandatory. The new spelling and the old one are both considered as correct.
eg soixante-et-onze (new optional spelling), soixante et onze (old, classic, always correct), soixante-douze (always with hypen). None of the add-on dictionaries pick up this, though.
Choice of four French spelling dictionaries! Source:
«Modern» dictionary — recommended
This dictionary offers mostly the classical spelling and some of the new spellings which are not controversial and widely used. This is the French language as it is written nowadays. We strongly recommend to use this dictionary, especially if you are not a native French speaker.
This dictionary is the «Modern» dictionary extended with alternative spellings, some of them still widely used and some others very old-fashioned.
«Reform 1990» dictionary
This dictionary offers only the new spelling, which is not very used. Some spellings are still mostly considered as mistakes by most of native speakers. (Unless you really know and approve the spelling reform, you should not use this dictionary.)
«Classic & Reform 1990» dictionary
With this dictionary, the classical spelling and the new one are considered as correct.
May 2017 EDIT: Thanks everyone for the feedback on this, very interesting. Not sure why a couple of people downvoted my comment asking, "What would be your top three changes to reform modern French?" - I suppose they are saying not to reform it??? ;) @josephkt started an interesting thread below with, "the whole language needs to be reformed it's the only languages not to be in over 100 years" but it has unfortunately been downvoted.
Changing a language is more in depth. The circumflex is a good example; there are many words that have it (Fenester vs Fenêtre). Also removing different tenses, moods, etc wouldn't change the way things are pronounced or written, in which is the basis for language transformations.
Thanks, that's interesting. Lately, I'm being told French is a very oral language and benefits from a lot of written French sounding the way it is spelled (not always the case in English!)
That's why I like French more than English: in English there is a different sound for the same thing everywhere. French also has some slang speech-wise, for example je suis = "shwee".
Yes, this makes it difficult to understand people in Paris because many of their noises don't match what you're taught. But over time . . . plus guesswork :)
Thanks everyone for the feedback on this, very interesting. Not sure why a couple of people downvoted my comment asking, "What would be your top three changes to reform modern French?" - I suppose they are saying not to reform it??? ;)