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Do you think that the French language is elitist, and if so, why?

2 months ago

Is the French language elitist?



Many French linguists would argue that the French language is elitist. They also criticize the Académie Française about how it failed to promote a real reform of French orthography since the beginning of the 20th century. What distingues the French language from others is probably its spelling and how hard it can be for beginner or fluent learners.

Spain, Portugal and Brazil agreed on a uniform orthography almost 100 years ago. Spanish, European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese, despite their spelling reforms, are not less beautiful or rich than the French language. The reforms have also contributed to lighten the considerable load of hours spent in learning and memorizing tons of complex rules, which for the most part are not logic or lost in the vague history of the French language. Many other countries, where orthography is considered simple, pupils spend more time studying maths, science, music, etc.


According to Fabrice Jejcic, a CNRS linguist, we found in an old text from 1673, a sentence written by a member of the French Academy, François Eudes de Mézeray, who clearly shows contempt for the population and women. He promotes the French orthography for an elit or gens de lettres only. Mezeray wrote: "La compagnie (Académie) déclare qu’elle désire suiure (suivre) l’ancienne orthographe qui distingue les gents de lettres d’auec (avec) les jgnorants (ignorants) et les simples femmes."

Today, many members of the Académie Française still believe that modern French spelling should preserve its 'difficult characteristics' despite hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren from disadvantaged backgrounds are always left behind, while the Éducation nationale is encouraging SMS language or text messaging courses, and Globish, a simplified constructed language, is spreading across the country among young people.

And what about your mother tongue or other languages such as English, Madarin, Russian, Arabic...?


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