56% in France are against a simplification of French spelling

Thursday, October 08, 2009

That's according to an article here on the issue, although it doesn't give a source for the number. Just as with English, there is always a debate brought up every now and then on whether to simplify the spelling of the language. With English that would mean spelling words like tough as tuff (or tuf?), and with French orthographe would change to ortograf.

Personally I don't think large orthographic change is beneficial to languages like English and French, as they are far too large and geographically disperse for the changes to take effect soon enough, and the benefits are far too small. Portuguese barely achieved the tiniest of tiny orthographic reforms over nine countries, and that itself took decades and was also spurred on by the existence of two standards, something that French doesn't really have (and something English doesn't seem at all concerned about).

Besides, there are versions of French out there that have a simplified orthography - they're called creoles. The Haitian Creole Wikipedia gives some idea of what a simplified French orthography might look like.


Anonymous said...

An attempt was made to phoneticize American English to some extent I think by Benjamin Franklin. Thus we have "center" "color" and "z" in words like "colorize".

I'm a native English speaker living in Turkey, where language reforms in the 1930s, switching over from Arabic letters to Roman letters in a phonetic scheme, made the language easy to read.

My daughter learned to read and write Turkish in the first semester of first grade. I purposely did not do any work with her on learning to read English. At the end of first grade, the first volume of the Harry Potter series came out. She opened up the book to the first page and read the whole thing out loud without a mistake, just based on her knowledge of Turkish phonetics and her ear in English.

Teaching ESL, I often wish English was as easy as Turkish to read. I often have to explain the different sounds, of say, "tough" and "though".

I things in the US have not changed since I was a in elementary school, in the US, kids don't really know how to read and write comfortably until third or fourth grade.

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