The Académie française, the institution that regulates official changes to the French language, has approved a proposal to change the spelling of approximately 2,000 French words.
This includes eliminating the accent circonflexe when it appears over the letters i and u, eliminating some hyphens (eg. week-end becomes weekend), adding some hyphens (vingt et un becomes vingt-et-un), and changing some accents.
In other changes, oignon (onion) becomes ognon. The accent remains in cases where the meaning would be too confusing without it. For example:
- un homme mûr – a mature man
- un homme mur – a wall man
Lest we panic, all official sources say that both the new and the old spellings should be considered correct.
Here is a link to an eight page document describing the changes.