France: Simplifying French the Arabic way

Making French easier to read might sound very tempting but writing vowels as accent marks actually achieves the opposite result. As anybody who's ever tried reading a newspaper in Arabic knows, the vowel marks are simply dropped, leaving the reader with consonants alone and having to understand the text mainly through context.

Additionally, similarly to English, making French a phonetic language would mean cutting off the ability to read anything written in the past centuries.


Rachid Zamani says he got the idea to invent an alphabet in a dream on the night of the solstice in 2003. Zamani (35), worked in information systems for Renault in the Paris region. It was a dream that started in Arabic and ended in French, and in the morning the idea came to him.

The idea is a phonetic script which simplifies writing French. Zamani calls his invention "code ZMN". Zamani, whose parents are Moroccan, was brought up in Arabic since he was a child and has always lived with both languages. His alphabet is situated midway between them. The letters are from the French alphabet but the logic is that of Arabic. The sounds of the vowels are represented by accents.

The result is a very aesthetic script that remains a code to be deciphered.

Zamani is not a dreamer. After finishing college in Villefranche-de-Rouergue he obtained a master's degree in aerodynamics at the Paul Sabatier University and then moved to Basque country to finish his engineer's diploma in Bilbao.

Currently Zamani doesn't make money off his script, but with his passion for encryption and codes, he expects his invention to be useful. His ambition is that code ZMN might help in learning French in a playful manner.

He remembers his father trying to learn French after coming back from working on construction site, without success.

On his website, code ZMN is available for download for mobile phones and for PC and Mac computers. Zamani is even considering working with experts, giving his dream a promising future.

Zamani says that for this project he wants to work with linguists and designers in order to get a simplified method in the form of a small book.

Sources: La Depeche, Code ZMN (French)


Anonymous said...

As a linguist, I have to say that this is a stupid idea carried out in a remarkably retarded fashion. First of all, much of the historical charm of French lies in its orthography, which, yes, often does not match up phonetically. Maybe that's just my English bias, since English unarguably has by far the worst phonetic representation of any language that uses a letter system, but the fact of the matter is that English and French are languages of business, technology, medicine, education, industry, etc., and people therefore will simply have to adapt. Period. Furthermore, anyone who's ever heard native Arabics speaker try their land at an L2 knows how badly they tend to screw up the vowels... and the consonants, but they can't even keep 5 vowels straight. Even the better ones still invariably change their i's into e's ('will' --> 'well') and o's into ul's (as in 'not' --> 'nult'), or their o's become so unrounded as to fall outside the French or English cardinal vowel system ('no' --> 'new,' but even more unrounded), and of course there's that tendency of theirs to speak like 300-year-old, flaming homosexual, foppish, pretentious cartoons characters from Mars who palatalize EVERYTHING, even words that never had palatals, so that 'news' --> 'nyews' and even 'restaurant' --> 'restyaurant.' And I think we all know how badly Arabic speakers tend to be at putting Arabic words into Roman characters, since they can't a way of spelling 'Khadaffi' and running with it, can't find a way of spelling 'Qtub' that sounds anything like any way they may choose to try to spell it, there are at least 15 different ways of spelling 'Muhammad,' they love throwing in unnecessary h's all over the place, they expect us to geminate vowels even though no Germanic or Romance language ever does that (who has time to hang out on an 'a' for ten seconds?), and they think that Q with no U after it is some sort of substitute for both K and G, which are of course the same thing to native Arabic speakers, who also turn t's into d's, p's into b's, v's into w's, f's into v's, and s's into z's. Bad, bad idea for and by lazy, lazy people. Just learn a the language. French isn't all that difficult. It's not like Chinese, with 30,000 characters to memorize and 7 different tones or anything. Sheesh. It's a sad commentary on the way women are treated, I think, since these people's mothers likely spoke French fluently but obviously didn't learn to read it, at least well enough to pass it on to their kids, or they just had too many kids to raise any of them properly. Learning doesn't just happen in school. Apparently sometimes it doesn't happen at all and this retarded system only enables the acceptability of half-assed education, as well as the degradation of languages which, quite frankly, are superior to Arabic. I've rambled on and on in here about the inherent racism of Arabic, as well as its inability to distinguish between sex, rape, marriage/sex/savery/institutionalized prostitution, incest, and child molestation, the fact that 'woman'' and 'vagina' are the same word, plus it's orthographically retarded and reads from right to left. It's another sad commentary on Morocco that they've regressed so much as to favor Arabc over French, which did not used to be the case.

Snake Oil Baron said...

Yes, lets make French even harder for everyone but Arabs to understand. Or we could just ban French from usage on planet Earth. It would have the same effect. Yes, first generation immigrants struggle with the host language and many never learn it well. That has always been the case and will not be cured by wiping out the host language. It is the second generation which almost always masters the host language and by third generation they mostly don't speak the immigrant language. Even the extremist Muslims in Britain speak like someone out of Oliver Twist and can't even curse America in Arabic properly.