The French Ministry of Culture were recently quoted as saying it is “practically impossible to write French correctly using a keyboard that has been bought in France.”

The counterpart to the standard English-language QWERTY keyboard is the French AZERTY keyboard, but this has come under criticism for its inability to produce commonly used French accents and to prioritise others – namely a key dedicated to an accented ‘u’ which is used in very few words, but complex manoeuvres to type capitals with an accent.

This has led to an increasing belief that capitals need not be accented – an assumption which the Ministry of Culture argues against in their writing guidelines and those of the National Print organisation. Linguistics and Modern Languages applicants should read further into how standardized language guidelines differ from oratory and colloquial practices in different cultures.

Engineering applicants should consider the development of the keyboard and why the French keyboard emerged as it did despite it being ergonomically unhelpful.

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