The French government is regretting letting too many people surrender to that nasty roast beef eating QWERTY keyboard and that its superior French keyboard AZERTY lacks the ability to communicate with the rest of the world.
France’s culture and communication ministry acknowledged that residents of the country are facing problems when using different keyboards within their own country, a problem the ministry said it would begin trying to solve. In a statement released this week, the ministry moaned that French keyboards, which use the AZERTY layout rather than the QWERTY layout familiar to English speakers, make it unnecessarily difficult to type common symbols and letters.
Meanwhile the 26 letters of the alphabet as well as common accented letters like é, à, è, and ù are generally represented similarly on an AZERTY keyboard, the ministry said that the @ symbol and the € symbol are inconveniently or inconsistently placed, as are commands to capitalize symbols like “ç”.
Capitalising accented letters is problem in legal texts and government documents where every letter of the names of people and businesses are capitalized. Often, an accent is the only distinguishing factor between two similarly spelled words.
The ministry said that the “hardware limitations” of the French AZERTY keyboard “have even led some of our fellow citizens to think that we should not accentuate capital letters.”
All this is leading some French writers to adopt more anglicized ways of writing and the ministry does not what its “œufs” becoming “oeufs.”
The French culture and communication ministry said that software can often overcome the limitations of the physical keyboard, and autocorrect goes a long way in helping. But they are facing the fact that it is almost impossible to write in French correctly with a keyboard marketed in France.
Then there is the small matter of regional languages like Occitan, Catalan, Breton, and Polynesian which are too hard to type.
Now the French want to come up with a new keyboard and has asked France’s standards organization AFNOR (or the Association Française de Normalisation) to study the best layout for a French-language keyboard. The deadline for a proposed layout would be this summer.
The layout will almost certainly still adhere to France’s current AZERTY layout but with some changes.