French Academy of Sciences and the new orthography
[L’Academie française et la « nouvelle orthographe » ]
Why do learners readily adopt the orthographic corrections from 1990? They eliminate inconsistencies and irregularities (bonhommie aligns with bonhomme). They rationalize the singular and the plural of the compound names of the type porte-bagage, the conjugation of the verbs in -eler and -eter, the writing of borrowed words (weekend, désidérata) as well as their plural (des matchs, des whiskys). They largely correspond to the natural evolution of pronunciation and spelling.
They touch 2,400 words. The Petit Larousse and the proofreaders take this into account. If we apply them all, less than one word per page is changed. Often, change only affects one accent (allègement, connaitre, couter).
Without necessarily being taught, the new spellings are widely used in Belgium, Quebec, Switzerland and France. Traditional spellings remain valid. Neither of the two spellings (neither the old nor the new) can be held to be at fault. The rectifications from 1990, which are orthographic variants, are recommended by the French Academy of science.
Key words: new spelling, rectifications, rationalization, evolution, use, variant, French Academy of science
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