L'Académie française, the prestigious organization which regulates the French language, shocked Francophones around the world with its announcement of wide-sweeping changes to make French « plus facile et moins agaçant » (easier and less aggravating).
This project, known as La Simplification, includes the elimination of such exaspérant grammatical aspects as gender, agreement, être as an auxiliary verb (avoir will now be used for all verbs), reflexive verbs « sauf ceux qui sont réfléchis en anglais », and - most annoying of all - the subjunctive. Details about implementing these changes (for example, how French speakers will distinguish between le manche [handle] and la manche [sleeve] once gender is eliminated) are not yet available.
Académie française immortel Valéry Giscard-d'Estaing had this to say about the unexpected and far-reaching changes:
La langue française est très jolie, et nous voulons encourager plus de gens
à l'apprendre. Lors d'une séance de remue-méninges, on s'est rendu compte du
fait que notre belle langue est difficile pour les Anglophones, et donc pourquoi
pas éliminer les aspects les plus difficiles et agaçants ?
(The French language is very pretty, and we want to encourage more people to learn it. During a brainstorming session, we realized that our beautiful language is difficult for English speakers, so why not eliminate the most difficult and annoying aspects?
In order to have time to rewrite grammar books and dictionaries, La Simplification will launch officially one year from today - on April Fool's Day! Poisson d'avril ! Sorry everyone - you still need to worry about gender and all that jazz, but at least I have some lessons on French Foes that can help. :-)
Remember my April Fool from last year?