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Re: French reform (Re: C.Thalmann, & #1)

From:damien perrotin <erwan.arskoul@...>
Date:Sunday, April 10, 2005, 6:02
Skrivet gant Peter Kolb:

The problems with reforming French are the same as  with reforming
Danish, Faeroese, English or any language with an historical spelling
    - the spelling serves a social function by distinguising between
educated people (who master it) and uneducated people (who don't). Of
course, educated people will resist any change (with a pretty
ideological rationalization) whereas uneducated ones are... well uneducated.
    - litteracy is pretty high, so reforming the spelling amounts to
forcing more than 50 million people to learn a brand new spelling
system. They will resist it for the same reason they would resist
esperanto or interlingua : the cost of learning is real and immediate
while the benefits are only long-term (most of them can use the
established system even if imperfectly)
    - using a new spelling, significantly different from the old one,
means cutting oneself from the body of established litterature (not only
novels but also practical books, legal codes, archives, administrative
decision). Only a tiny fraction could be translitterated. Beside, the
difference between spoken and written french is such that one generation
after the change you would have to learn a different language to read
them. Granted Lenin and Mao did it, but their population was mostly
    - people cling to the old system because it is hard to master.

The only situation where a french speaking could change its spelling
would be a breakaway province (say britanny or corsica) trying to get
rid of French. Then the cutting off from established litterature and the
rest of the french speaking world would be an advantage.