Oignon is dead, long live ognon

Language reforms set to come into force in September, 26 years after they were approved by the Académie Française

4 February 2016

THE FRENCH language is about to be ‘simplified’ some 26 years after the Académie française approved the changes - but not everyone is impressed.

Some 2,400 French words are to be made easier under the plans to make learning the language easier for children. The changes will start to be taught to pupils at the beginning of the next school year in September, TF1 reports.

Among the noticeable differences, the letter ‘i’ can, from September, be dropped from the word ‘oignon’, and nénuphar, the traditional spelling of the French word for water-lily, will become nénufar.

Meanwhile, hyphens are set to disappear from certain words - including week-end, mille-pattes (centipedes), pique-nique, and porte-monnaie (purse).

More controversially, the circumflex will no longer be necessary above the letters ‘u’ or ‘i’ - so maîtresse will become maitresse.

This final adaptation of the French language has prompted a backlash on social media, with the hashtag #jesuiscircumflex created on Twitter.

Among the posts with the hashtag is this one, pointing out problems the changes may cause.

Ne pas confondre un homme mûr, et un homme mur. #JeSuisCirconflexe pic.twitter.com/dR1oMBepFj— Bart (@PhoenixBart) February 4, 2016

Photo: Ilmicrofono Oggiono / Flickr

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