Maurice Druon was the writer and wartime resistant who, as perpetual secretary of the Academie Francaise, lit the linguistic time bomb that is now combusting over Paris.
In 1990, responding to a request from then Prime Minister Michel Rocard, he compiled a detailed series of “rectifications” for the French language.
Around 2,400 words were affected. Druon’s adjustments were intended to iron out anomalies, eliminate redundancies and “facilitate the teaching of spelling”.
Little could he have imagined that, a quarter of a century later, his modest proposals would be creating such a furore.
Read more: BBC News