French dictionary adds gender-neutral pronouns and opponents accuse ‘ceiling’ too much

French dictionary adds gender-neutral pronouns and opponents accuse ‘ceiling’ too much

The decision by one of France’s leading dictionaries to add the word “iel” to its dictionary, a gender-neutral pronoun that has become popular among the non-binary community in recent years, has drawn harsh criticism from political leaders in France. . franka, a movement that once again underscores the controversy surrounding efforts to make the language of love a reflection of an inclusive society.

glossary Robert, in a credible French context, included the entry “IEL” after its researchers noted the “increased use” of third-person pronouns in “a large amount of text from various sources”, said dictionary director Charles Bimbenet in a statement. explained released on Wednesday. He said the entry’s publication has had a positive impact among the “majority” of its users.

The dictionary defines “iel”, which combines the words “he” and “she”, as a third person singular pronoun that can refer to persons of either gender. The term is recognized as “rare” because its use has remained relatively low in recent months, Bimbenet said. (“Ales” is the plural of the non-binary pronoun. The Le Robert entry also included the variations “iles” and iles).

“Mission [do dicionário] The aim is to observe the development of the French language in real time. (…) Defining the words that describe the world helps us understand it better,” Bimbenet added in defense of the editorial decision, which was taken in October.

But this week several French politicians expressed strong opposition to the formal adoption of non-binary pronouns, bringing to light an old battle over whether the French language is rigidly structured in grammatical rules that govern male and female pronouns. differentiate females, whether or not to replace them, to better represent females and non-binary gender individuals.

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French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blancar tweeted on Wednesday that school-age children should not use Le Robert’s entry as a valid reference, saying “inclusive writing is not the future of the French language.”

François Jolivet, the French MP for the center party that governs the country, similarly rejected the non-binary pronouns, characterized by the acceptance of “iel” and its variations to implement the “ceiling” ideology.

In a letter addressed to the Académie Française, a nearly 400-year-old institution set up to act as custodians of the French language, Jolivet urged its members to take a stand in this debate. “Solitary Campaign” [do Le Robert] This is a clear ideological intrusion that undermines our common language and its influence,” the MLA’s letter said. The report was unable to contact Académie Française for a position as of this Thursday morning.

The prestigious organization publishes guidelines on the grammar and vocabulary of the French language, but many in the French-speaking world regard its non-binding recommendations as sacred obligations.

In 2017, the renowned language body issued a scathing warning, declaring that efforts to make French more gender-inclusive would result in “disjointed language, varying in its articulation, which creates confusion on the extent of illegality.” “.

For many years, feminist activists have campaigned against the dominance of masculine forms in French, which, some argue, undermines women in professional settings.

By the 1990s, women in senior positions in the French government, including in the highest executive positions, tried to refer to their positions as “madame la ministre”, replacing the masculine “le” with their feminine form.

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But to this day this usage is far from widely accepted, as opponents of the inclusive form of the French language cling firmly to the tradition. In 2017, former French Prime Minister Eduard Philippe banned the use of gender neutrality in all official documents.

Officials in other parts of the French-speaking world may be more open to language change. But so far, none of these countries has adopted “IEL” and its many variations on the official language of their governments.

Canada, where French is one of the official languages, encourages the country’s lawmakers to use gender-neutral language when writing English versions of its bills, arguing that pronouns such as “they” (he/she) Useful in a legislative context, “to eliminate heavy or embarrassing repetition of gender-specific languages ​​and nouns.”

neutral language around the world

In Brazil, neutral language is gaining more and more visibility and is a cause of debate in academic, political and corporate environments, In form of State, Companies that work with diversity are already using the articles “x/ile/dile” instead of “he/her” or “the/he/her”. Despite this, the term is still not included in the entries of the main Portuguese language dictionaries produced in the country, including the Orthographic Glossary of the Portuguese Language (VOLPE) organized by the Accademia Brasileira de Letras.

Across the world, the incorporation of words into the official spellings of different languages ​​is proceeding at different speeds. Six years earlier, Sweden included the personal pronoun “hen” – created by the transgender community in the early 2000s to designate people who have no defined gender or when a person’s gender The information in is irrelevant – in the official language. In the United States, one of the most important dictionaries of the English language, Merriam-Webster, has added the neutral words “they” and “them” to its list of pronouns, which are used in place of “he” and “she”. goes. , to refer to non-binary ones.

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On Brazilian soil, the inclusion of a neutral language in the official spelling still faces resistance in the political arena. Bills trying to restrict the use of neutral words in schools, universities and public bodies in general were filed last year in the chambers of deputies and legislative assemblies of several states – including So Paulo. One of them, which was approved in Rondnia in September, was suspended on Wednesday, 17 after an injunction by Minister Edson Fachin, who pointed to the risk that the rules could stifle the free expression of teachers and students. could./ Russian Squirrel translation

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