Ê, û, and the French

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Perry Lassiter
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Ê, û, and the French

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:15 am

The language sheriffs in France are at it again! (Someone recently commented on here that they really do have an official language committee to settle matters, or in this case to stir them up!) In the last day I've come across two news stories reporting that the French are going to take off the hats on some of their E's and U's if they're not accented. Seems they made this decision 25 years ago, but have just now got around to enforcing it. BTW, the news folk label the hats as circumflexes, should you want to sound erudite. Meanwhile the French are fighting like the Oxford comma was at stake!

Meanwhile we Americans and English go along like unregulated Republicans, omitting our U's on this side of the Atlantic, while they re-insert them between the O and R when they encounter such a suffix. Sometimes even our dictionaries disagree!

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Re: Ê, û, and the French

Postby Slava » Tue Feb 09, 2021 8:30 am

I haven't seen French French in a long time, but I'm surprised they use any of the diacritical marks, except when absolutely necessary. I thought they were understood, like the dieresis over the e in many Russian words. You're supposed to know it's there and pronounce the word correctly without the clue.
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Dr. Goodword
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Re: Ê, û, and the French

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:14 am

The circumflex was added in Middle French (I think) to remind people that a following S was no longer pronounced or spelled. It is of historical interest only. Pâté comes from the same source as Italian pasta and English paste, but with the S removed.
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