France Is Changing the Spelling of Onion and People Are Angry

By Justine Sterling Posted February 04, 2016

The next time you try to order the soup á l’oignon at your favorite French restaurant, you might notice something missing—the letter “i.”

In 1990, the Académie Française approved of a few spelling changes (around 2,400) that would help simplify the language. It took until 2016 for the education ministry to actually enforce the new rules. The alterations include the removal of hyphens in words like week-end and porte-monnaie (wallet) and the circumflex will disappear from the tops of some “I"s and “U"s. For example, coût (cost) will now be cout. The rule also alters the spelling of some words to better reflect the current state of French linguistics, which is where your favorite soup order comes in to play. Oignon (onion) is losing an “i” and is now ognon.

The French public is resistant to the changes and many have taken to Twitter to express their feelings, tagging posts with the hashtag #JeSuisCirconflexe to show their solidarity. “Le seul fait de lire le mot ‘ognon’ suffira à nous faire pleurer maintenant,” one Twitter user writes. The translation: “Merely reading the word ‘onion’ is enough to make us cry now.”

[h/t The Local]

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