Public Works and Government Services Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links

 
Search TERMIUM Plus®
To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

new French spelling (Linguistic recommendation from the Translation Bureau)

[The same content is available in French in the article NOUVELLE ORTHOGRAPHE (RECOMMANDATION LINGUISTIQUE DU BUREAU DE LA TRADUCTION).]

The purpose of this recommendation is to inform the federal public service of the Translation Bureau’s position on the new French spelling.

Position

The Translation Bureau considers both the new and the traditional French spelling to be correct.

What is it?

The new French spelling is an initiative of the Conseil supérieur de la langue française (France) to simplify the French language and correct some anomalies. It involves a set of rules (in French only) and a list of about 2 000 words (5 000, if you include rare and technical words).

Examples of New Spelling

Examples of New Spelling
New spelling Change
aigüe, ambigüe diaeresis shifted from the ë to the ü
gout, boite, connaitre, apparaitre, trainer, bruler circumflex accent deleted on the î and û
exéma, nénufar, ognon, relai letters replaced or one letter deleted
bonhommie, charriot, combattivité, boursoufflé consonant added or deleted to ensure uniformity with bonhomme, charrue, battre and soufflé
deux-mille-trois-cent-cinquante-deux hyphen added between all words that make up a number
contrappel, entretemps hyphen deleted in compounds beginning with contre- and entre-
un cure-ongle, des cure-ongles; un après-midi, des après-midis in the second element of a compound noun: letter s deleted in the singular or letter s added in the plural (as opposed to the current spelling: un cure-ongles, des après-midi)

Findings

  • Many recognized reference works and spell-checkers have accepted the new French spelling, either in whole or in part.
  • Many organizations and bodies consider the new spelling correct:
    • Conseils supérieurs de la langue française (France and Quebec)
    • Académie française (France)
    • Office québécois de la langue française
    • the ministries of education of France, Belgium and Switzerland
    • the Ministère de l’Éducation of Quebec, the Ministry of Education of Saskatchewan, the Department of Education of New Brunswick and Alberta Education

References

Additional information