Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Neutral Pronouns Provocative Debate in the French Dictionary

A non-binary pronoun added to a respected French dictionary has ignited a fierce linguistic controversy in the country.

le petit robert Last month introduced the word “il” in its online version – an amalgamation of “il” (he) and “elle” (she). While the term is becoming more prevalent among young people, it is still far from being widely used or understood by many French speakers.

Although the change went unnoticed at first, this week sparked heated debate in a country that prides itself on its human rights tradition but also protects its cultural heritage from foreign interference. There are conservatives in one camp, including some political leaders, who criticize the move as a sign that France is moving towards an American-style “awakening” ideology. The second has a new generation of citizens adopting non-binary as the norm.

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“It is very important that dictionaries include the pronoun ‘iel’ in their context because it shows how well-accepted the use of the word is now,” said Dorah Simon Claude, a 32-year-old doctoral student who was “IEL”. Identifies as “.

FILE – A schoolboy stands near a pile of “Le Petit Robert” dictionaries at a supermarket in Marseille on August 26, 1999, days before the start of the school year.

“It is,” Claude said, “also a way of confronting the Académie française which remains in its conservative corner and continues to neglect and despise users of the French language.”

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blancar is not in the same camp. He said on Twitter on Wednesday that “inclusive writing is not the future of the French language.” The 56-year-old former law professor warned that schoolchildren should not use “IEL” as a valid word, despite joining Le Robert, which is seen as a linguistic authority on French since 1967.

François Jolivet, an MP from President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party, also clarified his dislike. Nonbinary pronouns are, he suggested, a worrying sign that France is embracing a “wake” ideology.

Jolivet wrote a letter to the 400-year-old Académie Française, a French-language stronghold, claiming that Le Robert’s “solitary campaign is a clear ideological intrusion that undermines our common language and its influence.”

The general director of Le Robert editions, Charles Bimbenet, jumped to the dictionary’s defense in a statement on Wednesday. Far from deciding which words should be used, he said, le petit robert Was clarifying the meaning of the word, now it is growing in currency across the country.

Since the meaning of the word “EL” cannot be understood simply by reading it,” Bimbenet said, “it seemed useful to assign its meaning to those who encounter it, regardless of how they choose to use it.” Or … reject it.”

“Robert’s mission is to observe and report on the development of a changing and diverse French language,” he said.

warning on neutrality

In 2017, the Académie Française warned that moves to make French more gender neutral “would create a different language, with unequal expression, which could lead to confusion over illegality.”

Gender languages ​​such as French are seen as a particular obstacle for advocates of non-binary words because all nouns are classified as either masculine or feminine, unlike English.

Not all European countries are progressing at the same pace as France. In Greece, where all nouns have not two, but three possible genders, there is no official non-binary pronoun, but the groups supporting them suggest the use of “it”.

In Spain, after Carmen Calvo, a former deputy prime minister and confirmed feminist, asked the Royal Spanish Academy to advise on the use of inclusive language in the constitution, the following year the answer was quite clear: “inclusive language” means “Use” to refer to masculine men and women.


This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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