French spelling reforms of 1990

PaulC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

French spelling reforms of 1990

The French are officially "encouraged" to use the "new spelling" of the reforms of 1990 (but the old forms are still allowed). The new spelling is now taught in schools for example and is included in style guides for various media groups. However your algorithm always seems to correct "plait" to the ancient spelling of "plaît", insisting on the unnecessary circumflex. I'm used to it now, as I have been corrected a number of times in various exercises like this one, but surely this must confuse some of your other subscribers? (In my opinion you should probably mark us correct for both options, but if only one is preferred then maybe it could be the new official spelling?)

P.S. Since writing this, I have found some conjugation guides give : Je plais, tu plais, il plaît, nous plaisons, vous plaisez and ils plaisent. With the circumflex included only in the 3rd person singular (which is the only case where it is followed by a "t"), but I have been unable to find a reason for this, or even whether it is correct? 

Asked 3 months ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Paul,

Thank you so much for pointing this out! You are right that it shouldn't be marked as incorrect. Both spellings with or without the circumflex accent are correct. This will be relayed to our tech team so that it can be fixed as soon as possible.

Re-circumflex accent with 'plaît':

Chris's answer is great! And the same applies to 'plaire', which used to be in old French 'plaisir' - see link here: Académie française - plaire

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The circumflex was only every present in the 3rd person singular of plaire anyway. It is similar to connaître, where only the infinitive and the 3rd person singular (connaît) have the circumflex (in the old spelling). Both times followed by a -t. I can't think of a counter example to this, either. 

One of the historic reasons for having the circumflex was a "hidden" -s- in the word, and the vowel preceding this now-vanished -s- received the circumflex: Here are some examples:

la forêt used to be forest (it still is in English),
L'hôpital used to be hospital,
connaître (and connaît) used to be connaistre and connaist.

PaulC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Thanks Chris. You are of course correct, and it is probably precisely because the il/elle form does not include an “s” that they used to put a hat on the “i” on those verbs. I know some French traditionalists (apparently including my downloaded Larousse) are very unimpressed that they have finally started implementing the 1990 spelling reforms, but as an anglophone, I mostly find them very sensible (insert smiley face emoticon here). 

French spelling reforms of 1990

The French are officially "encouraged" to use the "new spelling" of the reforms of 1990 (but the old forms are still allowed). The new spelling is now taught in schools for example and is included in style guides for various media groups. However your algorithm always seems to correct "plait" to the ancient spelling of "plaît", insisting on the unnecessary circumflex. I'm used to it now, as I have been corrected a number of times in various exercises like this one, but surely this must confuse some of your other subscribers? (In my opinion you should probably mark us correct for both options, but if only one is preferred then maybe it could be the new official spelling?)

P.S. Since writing this, I have found some conjugation guides give : Je plais, tu plais, il plaît, nous plaisons, vous plaisez and ils plaisent. With the circumflex included only in the 3rd person singular (which is the only case where it is followed by a "t"), but I have been unable to find a reason for this, or even whether it is correct? 

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
I'll be right with you...