Monday 24 October 2011

EasyType French Accents: Encourage Accurate Use of Accents

Producing text-based resources in French can take longer as teachers need to learn new tricks to type in accents quickly as well as other French characters not supported by the English keyboard. I have also seen many otherwise good resources-from native and non-native French speakers- lacking the expected accuracy in that area, which does not encourage students to think that accents are a big deal.

I really feel that not encouraging students of all abilities to write or type accents correctly is wrong, particularly given the strong link accents have in French with pronunciation. However, accents can be the last straw for students when they are trying to to type in French, something they usually find challenging anyway. This is one of the reasons why I first got interested in the EasyType French Accents software, produced by Accent Grave, a Toronto-based company. Accent Grave also has a full French version of its site that can be accessed from here.

With EasyType, you can type French accents by just pressing the same key twice or more to get the French accent you want, in a very similar way to what would happen while texting on a mobile. For instance, to type é, just press e twice. So, no more awkward key combinations and numeric codes… A French typography feature even simplifies typing French punctuation marks, also allowing you to type French punctuation marks according to standard French typography.

For example:
• — Double-quotes are replaced with chevrons « … »

• — Press - (dash) twice to type — (em-dash)

• — Modern French typography is used by default. Otherwise, a space is added before ? ! ; :

Pricewise, at $19.99 (about £13) for a single licence which lets you use EasyType French Accents on up to two computers, it certainly is a good value product and the company also offers substantial volume discounts, which would be ideal for schools or for students to buy the software in bulk. If your school offers Spanish, a similar product is currently being developed for Spanish, so watch this space.

To find out more, you can also check the company’s Twitter or Facebook page. This easy-to-use product could just be what you are after to re-focus your students on French accents and on the importance of writing accurately…

1 comment:

Judith Esser said...

Voilà, ça fonctionne très bien! Plus d'accents manqués.

C'est un outil particulièrement utile pour les claviers plus compacts.

Nous allons l'offrir à nos enseignants de français langue seconde.

Judith Esser
Program Coordinator,
Toronto Catholic District School Board
Toronto, Ontario, Canada