Teleworking, a substantial increase in the trend towards remote working compared with face-to-face working!
Confusion reigns as to which ending should be used. And the good old Académie has been quick to sidestep the question of spelling in favour of the use of "à distance" and "en présence". But can you seriously say: "Next week, I won't be teleworking, I'll be working in person..."? "Badly said", my French teacher would have written.
That said, there is a prevailing usage in the French language regarding the correct way to form these qualifying adjectives from nouns, even if they are neologisms. Why "prevail"? Because it's true that rules have been laid down, but there are always exceptions.
Distantial or distanciel?
Jean-François Castille, lecturer in French language and literature at the University of Caen, explains these two rules (MOOC unicaen, Strengthen your skills spelling) :
- adjectives derived from "ance" nouns end in "ciel". Thus, "circonstance" will end in "circonstanciel". But, the exception confirming the rule, "substance" will end in "substantiel"!
- adjectives derived from nouns in "ence" end in "tiel". Thus, "essence" will give its derivative "essentiel". But "révérence" will give "révérenciel". I bow my head, speechless!
Guillaume Terrien, champion speller who won the Dicos d'Or in 2004, points out that of the sixty or so words in [sjεl], about a third are written as 'sky'. According to him, spelling follows the following principles:
- an adjective in [sjεl] formed from a word in [ās] ("ance") is usually written with a "T".
- an adjective formed from an "ice" noun is written with a "C" (for example, "indice" gives "indiciel"). But what about the singular "interstice"?
- three exceptions to the first principle: circumstantial, trend-based and reverential.
- adjectives derived from Latin that already contain a 'C': official, superficial and artificial.
In short, out of sixty or so words, let's try to retain the rules, but above all the exceptions. In this way, the language slips past the rules and reveals the interstital spaces in which all these difficulties are played out!
To answer the question posed, we will give priority to "en présentiel" or "en distanciel', but to simplify things we can simply say that we work 'in the office', or 'on site' in the first case and that we are 'teleworking' or 'working remotely' in the second.