I am not holding my breath OR Reform of French spelling

Deerfield / IL / Etats-Unis - 8/23/15Truthfully, I am not holding my breath.

I go back and forth between my native language and its evolution, how it pretty much does so at an extremely rapid pace and does so without a governing body. Then there is French and the Académie Française and the work of its members on keeping tabs on one beautiful language. The current debate revolves around spelling changes for some very illogical (and so much of both French and English spelling is) words, illogically spelled, I mean, and dropping an accent.

The accent they are talking about dropping is the circumflex, ‘^,’ an accent that pretty much means that there used to be an ‘s’ in the word which was dropped many years ago. Example: forêt and hôpital used to be spelled with the letter ‘s’ following the vowel the accent is on. I don’t see this as a particularly helpful move dropping it; it might even make it more complicated for English speaking students, lol.

In any case, I have been reading all sorts of info put on Facebook by French teachers and the reform in question is pretty much up for grabs. There is denial that the Académie even approves of it at times. In any case, the word on the street is that the changes are up for the coming August when students go back to school. It could be interesting.

The Germans, who had less need of this type of change, did have a reform but as MK seems to think, that movement does not seem to have totally caught on. Languages are odd things and it is very difficult to regulate them

On February 19th, the debate took such importance as to appear in the New York Times as an article. It is worth looking at.

As the saying goes, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” The more things change, the more they stay the same. Time will tell on this one.

About Richard Koerner

Sixty something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
This entry was posted in French / français, Language, Life in general, People and their characteristics, Thoughts and philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

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