In a lot of cases, the French circumflex indicates an elided S (coût, maîtresse), and it seems silly to dump it for I and U but keep it for E (fenêtre).
Let’s hope the other accents and the participe passé avec avoir are next.
“Elided” s? I think you mean “historically attested but long since disappeared” s, no? While marginally interesting for philologists, its only practical use is in distinguishing homophones like votre (your) and vôtre (yours), which now will have to be inferred from context (should rarely be a problem).
It is odd that they’re keeping it for “e.” I mean, either do this or don’t do this!
ETA: Looks like they’re keeping it for “o,” too – probably for the reason I mentioned.
So the circumflex is now the bête noire rather than being de rigueur?
Ah well, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, as the French can now no longer say.
Mais they can, ê is not disappearing. The circumflex is not being thrown out, only devalued.
It’s been a while since I took French. Can someone explain why the circumflex would be dropped for some vowels but not others?
Accents make sense in languages like Spanish in which spelling strictly indicates pronunciation, since they actually show pronunciation. (In a few cases they distinguish that words are being used as a different part of speech.) In a language like French where spelling has little to do with pronunciation, they seem superfluous.
This is all Greek to me.
I didn’t know anything about the circumflex when I started reading this. I still don’t know much about it, but now I’m pretty sure circumflex does not mean “hoop snake” or “sphincter.”
I just saw this post on Facebook, relevant to this thread:
“Je suis sûr ta soeur elle va bien”
“Je suis sur ta soeur elle va bien”
It shows the importance of the circumflex accent.
No, elided is correct. For example, Latin Fenestra became French Fenêtre and Latin Voster became Vôtre. The S was elided.
Quel bon mot!
From what I remember on passé simple, it had a bunch of circumflexes, so those were already gone through obsolescence (always taught along the lines of “you should recognize this when reading old texts but nobody uses it anymore so don’t bother memorizing the conjugation”).
Wouldn’t it be easier to get rid of the être form considering it’s much less common? Or do you mean combine it with the imperfect, which bothers me from a historical standpoint but on the other hand I could never get the hang of the little exceptions, so adieu.
À/A mes parents, Ayn Rand et Dieu.
Well I’ll be darned. I knew that’s what the circumflex often indicated in French – as a said, a former “s” that disappeared – but I always thought “elision” was the English word that is “liaison” in French. In fact they have nearly opposite meanings – “removal or omission” vs. “insertion (of a sound where two words are linked)”.
I believe that in French spelling is only slightly less coupled to pronunciation than in Spanish. In fact, most alphabet-based languages let you infer pronunciation from spelling after learning a handful of basic rules. As far as I can work out, English is the only widely spoken language where this isn’t true.
I’m also confused by this though. Doesn’t the circumflex change the vowels pronunciation? The “acute” and “grave” accents do, right?
No, it does not. (Yes, the aigu and grave do).
You’re very wrong. I took French for three years, and am fluent in Spanish. There are many silent letters in French, and many words that are spelled differently are pronounced the same. Basically, you can’t tell from hearing a French word how it is spelled. There are a few ambiguities in Spanish (hoya, olla), but they are relatively rare.
In Spanish, you can often drop subject pronouns because the information about person is contained in the verb form. In French you can’t, because even though the verb forms for different persons are spelled differently, they are pronounced the same.
Colibri, it’s true you can’t tell how a French word is spelled just by hearing it pronounced, but you can usually tell how it’s pronounced by seeing it written – not as often as you can with Spanish, but more often than you can with English.
Both do on an e, but I don’t think the grave affects a or o pronunciation, does it? Aigu is really only on e.
French has many rules, but they are at least possible to learn, whereas english has the main rule that there is always an exception.
Yes, that’s true. But it’s not nearly as reliable as it is in Spanish. Saying that it’s only “slightly less coupled than it is in Spanish” is wrong.
There are two aspects to how orthographicly reliably a language is:
How reliably you can spell it from hearing it.
How reliably you can pronounce it from seeing it spelled.
English is poor on both counts. French is very poor on 1, better on 2. Spanish is very good on both.
Although not a major language, Irish is probably worse than English in retaining obsolete spellings.
Je suit dacors.