Changes to spellings of over 2,000 French words sparks outrage

I read in a article today that the new spellings will be published in school books and dictionaries this September.what do you people think of these new is a link to article Changes to spellings of over 2,000 French words sparks outrage | The Independent | The Independent

I’ll keep using the normal spellings, I’m not going to learn which word changes and which doesn’t. And I like the accent circonflexe.

As if all the people who can’t write a single sentence without making a mistake were going to write better with that reform… Stupid.


I’m not a fan of this reform and I tend to find all these small but annoying changes a bit silly. That was also the case with the German spelling reform a few years back, However, the reactions about “mediocrity”, “dumbing down”, etc. are really over the top.

This seems a bit strange to those of use from lands where there is no official Academy or government direction over the language. I’m not sure where the authoritative spelling for English comes from, my understanding is that it usually works the other way around. Compilers of dictionaries observe what is is use, and if a usage becomes common enough, it will go into the dictionary. Tho it may go in with a tag denoting “informal” or “alternative”. (See what I did there?) As usage changes over time, the dictionaries will adapt.

Schools will teach and grade by the dictionaries’ standard usage and spelling, but that will change as the language changes. Language change is driven by those who use it, however, and the dictionaries, which are not formally endorsed by any government entity, follow. Dictionary publishers are influential, but they’re not “official” arbiters of anything.

At least that’s my understanding of how it works on this side of the pond south of the 49th parallel.

Why British and American spelling differs is interesting. According to the Wikipedia article, spelling used not to be standardized. Separate dictionaries were compiled that exerted influence on either side of the Atlantic, most notably Samuel Johnson’s in England and Noah Webster’s in America. (We can thank Mr. Webster for sparing us ridiculous spellings like “centre” and “colour”. :wink:

Once standardized, though, things are hard to change. “Night” and “knight” used to be pronounced like they’re spelled. Foreign learners of English, as well as English and American school children, might wish we’d had a little more spelling reform somewhere along the way.


I’m afraid that, I’ll be spelling the old-fashioned way for a bit longer than September 2016. :slight_smile:

I thing, French spelling, which is indeed unnecessarily overcomplicated, needs either more radical reform in order to bring it closer to the real pronunciation, or no reform at all. Things like changing é to è or û to u add more confusion then really help.

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I find é and è really helpful because it gives me an idea how to pronounce the word.

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I’ve only just now noticed that é in céderai or régleraient is pronounced as /ɛ/, not /e/. Now I’m even more confused than before.

The Oxford English Dictionary is considered the standard for English, with the English spellings first then the USA variations shown after. Teachers have been told to accept a word if it is in the OED. If you can believe it, awesomesauce was added to the OED in the fall of 2015. So yes for most modern words the dictionary authors take the spelling from the streets. For older words that had multiple spellings, the spellings used were the most commonly agreed upon. Remember English is a mix of Saxon, French, North Germanic ( Vikings), Latin, Greek (ancient), so yep there are many odd spellings…

Many countries (or provinces for that matter) that have an official language other than English, have a Government area responsible for Language. Partly it is to keep the language from becoming anglicized (such as Franglais) or to help deal with problems arising from technology (keyboards) or to determine how the language is taught in schools.

“The OED is considered the standard for English” by whom, where? In the USA I would assume that Webster’s is considered the standard and American spelling, not English spelling, is the norm.

in my country a former british colony in the west indieswe use the oxford or queens english dictionary in schools .however because of the dominance of america in the media and location many people especially young use american spellings and words and some words and spellings have replaced the british ones


Yeah, but that’s true in Britain too - at least up to a point! (To give just one example: I’d estimate that more young British people say “truck” than “lorry” nowadays.)

As regards spelling, well, that’s just a matter of transcription. One can write “theatre” or “theater”, etc, but what’s the real difference? :wink:

(As far as I’m aware, US spellings aren’t in any case actually considered “incorrect” here??)

Not incorrect, but regarded with a raised eyebrow or two, sometimes accompanied by a skilful rolling of the eyes.

You mean like the Swiss dudes in Germany/Austria who persist in saying “Ich heisse” instead of “ich heiße”? ;-))

I think there will be a debate for a long time. Simply because of things like homonyms as" le jeûne / le jeune" or la “tâche / la tache” and so on…

a little memo that come in handy: