French keyboards

Is France’s unloved AZERTY keyboard heading for the scrapheap?

1. I was taught that capital letters in French don’t have to be accented. I assume from reading this article that this “rule” stemmed from the fact that French typewriters have been unable to do accented capitals. But given that this situation has existed for so long (many decades, despite the article’s expressed “growing disuse of accented capitals” – in fact, accented capitals seem to be becoming more common again, in response to a combination of autocorrect and peevology), people are used to it, it’s become convenient and it creates no barrier to understanding, the calls for accented capitals on keyboards seems rather backward-looking, puristic and unwilling to accept change. Even worse is the laughable lament at the absence of ligatures on the keyboard. It’s a shame that the article doesn’t canvass any opinions on these matters from members of the public.

2. It hadn’t occurred to me that is the only use of u-grave in the language. I guess it’s used to avoid “confusion” with ou meaning or, but there are plenty of homonyms in French so it’s not clear why this one requires such an over-the-top “solution”. I’d just get rid of the distinguishing accent.


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