Is it time for an international reform of the French language?

While a debate on the simplification of the French language has been launched a couple of days ago, the Belgian linguistic bodies have decided unilaterally not to go further.

“La pomme que j’ai mangée.”

The rules of the French language make this sentence right, while “La pomme que j’ai mangé” is considered wrong. Students and French-speaking people have questioned this rule for decades, as there is basically no need to attach a suffix to a past participle with the auxiliary “avoir” in a basic sentence (“J’ai mangé une pomme”). However, when the accusative object comes before the verb, the suffix needs to be attached to the past participle.

Two Belgian teachers found this rule inadequate, both in terms of historical perspective and practicality. The French language, which includes thousands of exceptions, is indeed difficult to manage. Several rules are unknown to French-speakers, and all those who are learning French, face unexpected and sometimes inexplicable difficulties.

The two teachers have therefore set up a play (‘La Convivialité’) to denounce the difficulties of the French grammar and spelling. While both the French and Belgian newspapers have recently mentioned the play and a potential update of some linguistic rules, the Belgian linguistic bodies have underlined the need to make the language harmonized at a global level.

There will therefore be no reform unless it is conducted “in an International framework,” a Wallonia-Brussels Federation official announced last Saturday. “There is no will to work on this issue on a short-term perspective,” Eric Etienne, the spokesperson for the ministry of education, confirmed.

The French linguistic bodies do, however, not seem keen to work on that as of right now.

Do you think French should be simplified?