French speakers angry about spelling change for thousands of words

The hat-shaped circumflex accent is disappearing from some French words, starting later this year.

Story highlights

  • The spellings of 2,400 French words are changing this fall
  • The hat-like circumflex accent is disappearing from many "i"s and "u"s
  • French speakers are sharing their disdain for the changes in an online protest

(CNN)French speakers will soon have to think twice about how they spell certain words.

Changes by the French language council, Académie Française, will simplify the spelling of about 2,400 words, coinciding with the start of the new school year in September.
The hat-shaped circumflex accent will disappear above the "i" and "u" in many words. You'll also see fewer hyphens and some vanishing vowels.
Onions will lose their "i"s, turning oignon into ognon. The accent in disappear, "disparaître," will go poof. And week-end is ditching the hyphen, becoming a lazier-looking weekend.
French language purists were in a tizzy on Twitter Thursday, balking at the changes by tweeting with the hashtag #ReformeOrthographe, or "spelling reform."
Angry francophiles and politicians alike joined in the online protest.
Pascal Sanchez called the changes a "glorification of mediocrity." He posted a graphic standing with the dejected circumflex.
"I am the circumflex," he tweeted in French.
Éric Ciotti, a member of the National Assembly of France, called the reform a "dumbing down" of the language.
Others mocked the hyphen being dropped from week-end, asking whether a bastardized spelling, like "weeknd" would come next. Oh, wait -- somebody's already done that.
The linguistic angst comes a little late. The council announced these changes in 1990, but no one seemed to notice until a reminder went out this week that they would go into effect in the 2016 curriculum.
Well, as the French like to say, c'est la vie!