Do you know your French oignons?
If you have ever had any French language tuition, even at an elementary level, you probably learnt the French word ‘oignons’ is not a thousand miles away from the English spelling.
Well that is about to change.
Later this year, ‘les oignons’ will formally become ‘les ognons’.
This revised spelling is just one of a range of language refinements that will impact on more than 2300 French words.
The two most emphatic changes are the removal of the circumflex which is commonly found over the letters ‘u’ and ‘i’, and suppression of the hyphen between certain words.
So ‘week-end’ will become weekend; pique-nique will become piquenique; and porte-monnaie becomes portemonnaie.
These recommendations by the Academie Francaise, the guardian of the French language, were first put forward in 1990, and will begin to be published in school text books for the new school year in September. Changes to traditions and customs move slowly in France, one of their delightful characteristics!
For words using the circumflex and/or a hyphen, the spelling of either option will be acceptable in schools and Universities.
While the removal of the ‘i’ from les ognons will probably involve a subtle pronunciation shift, I am sure your market stall holder will still understand what you wish to purchase!