Sunday, 7 February 2016

zut alors ou le oignon

Many francophiles and language purists are very upset with the universal arbiter, Academie Francaise, and the plan to enforce some institutional changes in spelling first proposed back in 1990.
More than two thousand minor changes to the orthography of French (including dropping the i from onion, reducing the ranks of hyphenated- words and vowels that take the little chapeau, the circumflex) have incite vocal dissatisfaction and downright militant opposition. The Academie (the national body which also assigns gender to newly discovered exoplanets and quantum particles) assures the public that both old and new spellings will be considered correct but I wonder what sort of diglossia will result. In Britain in the seventeen hundreds the circumflex-o was shorthand for -ough for economy’s sake and thus had thô for though and (confusingly) brôt for brought. Is getting rid of the ê possibly some concession to lazy typists and web-navigators?