A French Dictionary Adds a Gender-Inclusive Pronoun


The French language has recently undergone a significant change, with Le Robert’s dictionary adding a gender-inclusive pronoun to its online version for the first time. How does this change the way pronouns are used and is it a word that travelers and students often encounter?

What is change?

Le Robert has decided to include an entry for “IEL” in the Le Petit Robert edition to be published online. The word was formed by combining “il” for her and “elle” for her, to come up with a pronoun for non-binary use. This has resulted in what they describe as a “personal subject pronoun of third person singular and plural” that can be used for any person without referring to a specific gender.

All languages ​​change over time, and English speakers have recently added words such as obscure, terrifying, and extinct to the words they can choose from. The way languages ​​adapt can make it more complicated for new students to stay completely up to date with the latest words and phrases, and may even confuse some native speakers who don’t.

This is one reason why learning with a native speaker is considered the most appropriate method. Students can expect any professional language teacher to be fully aware of the major changes that affect the way a language is spoken.

Online French learning options include finding native-speaking tutors for 1-to-1 classes. This lets students find a tutor who has the experience they are looking for, or who specializes in a certain style or dialect, at a price they are comfortable with and with their availability.

Children have been shown to learn languages ​​faster than adults, and are also generally better at incorporating emerging words into their vocabulary naturally. We begin to learn language skills while in the womb, but then we have to adapt to the changes we experience throughout our lives.

What else do you need to know about this change?

This pronoun can be seen similar to English equivalents such as “they”, “them”, and “their”, which are commonly used as non-binary pronouns in the same way that “iel” is used in French. can go. Other options in English include “ze/hir/hirs” and “eye/em/eir”.

Additional forms of the new pronoun include iel, ielle, iels and ielles. The dictionary’s creators confirm that it is not yet commonly used and should still be classified as rare. However, he added that the editorial committee wanted to include it so that its meaning was clear and people could make their own decisions about whether to use it or not.

He said in a statement that the change was made to reflect the change in language he had witnessed. Le Robert explained that his mission is to “observe the development” of the French language and to report on it, not to try to advance the words he wants people to use from now on.

The Académie Française (French Academy) was founded in 1635 and is the governing body of the French language. At the time of writing, they have yet to make any official comment on whether they support the introduction of the new pronoun. Any comments he makes in the future will help determine whether “IEL” is widely accepted in French society.

Yet, we can see by looking at the disappearing Indian languages, how languages ​​can shift or even be completely lost over time due to changes in the demographics of the society. Even without the judgment of the French Academy, the new pronoun would gain ground if enough people used it.

In terms of possibilities for the country’s government to use it, spokesman Gabriel Attal confirmed that his stated position is “not to use inclusive writing” on official documents. Therefore, we will not see the new neutral pronoun used on any official of the French government.

a look at the future

It seems that visitors to France or students of the language are unlikely to encounter this new pronoun very often, if at all. Although the makers of the dictionary said that it is a term that is already in use, we can see that it has now started to grow in popularity as more people know about it.

Although these words have been included in English for some time, the French example is an entirely new pronoun that may or may not be used more widely in the future.

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