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Parlez-Vous Déjà Le Web? French Accents Invade URLs

CHALLENGES (France)

PARIS - His name is André Santini. André, with an "é", not Andre.

A French member of parliament and mayor of Issy-les-Moulineaux in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, André Santini prides himself on being the first French politician whose website features an accented letter (www.andré-santini.fr), the French weekly financial magazine Challenges reports.

Bonne idée? As of May 3, French websites can indeed register domain names that include a whole new range of characters and accents: á, â, ã, ä, å, æ, ç, è, é, ê, ë, ì, í, î, ï, ñ, ò, ó, ô, õ , ö, œ, ù, ú, û, ü, ý, ÿ and ß.

Defenders of the French language are excited about the novelty. But isn't it likely to create problems for users who do not use a French keyboard?

Technically, no: the accented characters are optional, which means you can omit them and still access the website. That's good news. Imagine having to type down URLs featuring diacritics such as the Spanish tilde (˜), the Romanian ț, the Latvian ķ, or the Turkish ğ…

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