• World

Forget the French You Learned at School: France Introduces 2,000 New Spellings

2 minute read

French spelling changes proposed by language experts more than two decades ago will now be included in school textbooks, sparking an outcry from many who say it dumbs down the language.

The changes, first proposed by the Academie Francaise in 1990, will impact about 2,400 words, according to the BBC.

One of the most significant changes is the deletion of the circumflex. For example, maîtresse—meaning “teacher”—would be maitresse according to the new spelling.

The move inspired some people on social media to use the hashtag #JeSuisCirconflexe to protest the change.

While publishers have said the new spellings will be included in textbooks, France’s education minister has assured people the circumflex will still be used and old and new spellings will both remain correct.

Spellings that will change

Oignon becomes ognon (onion)

Nénuphar becomes nénufar (waterlily)

S’entraîner becomes s’entrainer (to train)

Maîtresse becomes maitresse (mistress or female teacher)

Coût becomes cout (cost)

Paraître becomes paraitre (to appear)

Week-end becomes weekend (weekend)

Mille-pattes becomes millepattes (centipede)

Porte-monnaie becomes portemonnaie (wallet)

Des après-midi becomes des après-midis (afternoons)

[Read more from the BBC]

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com