Re: writing in an alphabet with fewer letters: letter replacements

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Fri, 5 Jul 2013 10:24:15 +0200

2013/7/5 Richard Wordingham <>

> I've seen French comments in Fortran that just drop all the accents -
> most disconcerting to read!
This is an old problem. It first appeared because lack of Unicode support
in famous historic programming languages (and it persists today in common
languages like C, C++, Basic, Fortran, Cobol, Ada, Pascal...), but now it
should be noted that many French programmers have a very poor level of
orthography and don't know how to select the proper accents (they also
often don't care about correct capitalization, using English rules in their
programs, or copying the capitalization of English in programs UI, such as
capitals on every word, even where it would not even be used notammly in
English; correct punctuatin is also frequently ignored.
In propram comments, nobody cares about that, because users of applications
will notmally not see them, and because I18n and L10n is handled elsewhere
in code and data).

If you are trying to learn French, you won't understand the contents found
in many French-speaking popular talk areas or forums (and it will be worse
in many short Facebook status, Tweets, SMS, and chat: if you're not
cumfortable with the most common deviations, you will hate these places,
and will not use it very often for some time, then will learn how to use
these only for selected users and communities...).

They are generally horroble and there's even an widely accepted policy to
not complain about the orthography used by others (because this raises
flaming and pollutes more). Yes we are horrified, but most will silently
adapt to that fact. After all this is a living language, and languages will
evolve with such simplifications, or initial "abuses" that will be
integrated sooner or later. As ong as nobody complains against those that
use the standard orthography, and there's still an effort to make it
understood, the orthography will accept some of these simplified forms, if
they don't introduce too much confusion.
We remember the battles about the 1999 French ortthographic reform: it was
highly criticized, but anyway now, people accept it indifferently... except
some administrations that still want to use an official jargon with
standardized words, expressions, and orthographies.
Received on Fri Jul 05 2013 - 03:27:28 CDT

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