The evil of words

Published on

Worse than politics or religion! If you want to see French people grapple with each other, talk to them about spelling! These will growl that it was better before and that a ruler stroke on the fingers was ideal for swallowing the imperfect subjunctive. They will argue that copying hundreds of lines never helped them dominate the spelling. The moderates will point out that our good old French is still very twisted.

Each language has its surprises. The little Spaniards have the chance to write (almost!) As they pronounce. While young English people must admit that the “i” will sometimes be pronounced “aï”, sometimes “i” and sometimes “eu”. What else?

Until then, those who drooled in dictation fell into two categories. First, children from very disadvantaged or illiterate social classes (although many of them gave the statistics lie, sometimes to the point of becoming great writers). The other category is that of young people with multiple skills, but weighed down by dyslexia. An incapacity which is only too late for many to be detected. Roughly speaking, we could forgive both: judging these people by the yardstick of their writings could amount to injustice or contempt.

Finally, we must recognize that for a long time now, spelling has not been a priority for national education, no doubt because this learning is too time-consuming.

What business leaders denounce today, exhausted to see scrolling CVs full of mistakes and typos, seems to come from another attitude. It seems that some of our fellow citizens no longer respect language and words, do not care about syntax or grammar. Social networks do they not carry a mush of twisted words? The signal for relativism, as if writing well no longer had any importance, in the wake of those who take liberties with the Highway Code, the rules of living together, respect for the authorities. The spelling? After all, it’s my freedom to write however I want!

Pity ! Our language is beautiful, rich and complex, and it is these rules that give it its majesty and strength. French is the glue of our common culture. It is a heritage that must be defended, instead of wringing its neck with each sentence.

Back to top button