[Ads-l] Article: Language activists are trying to make French gender-neutral. May 17th 2018

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Aug 23 14:52:30 UTC 2020

Another option would be (or would have been) parentheses: étudiant(e), plural étudieant(e)s. In both cases this is an orthographic solution that doesn’t quite work phonologically, given the difficulty of pronouncing half a segment (in this case /t/).  German capitalizes the sex-neutral <I>:  StudentInn(en).  Chris Waigl will know more of the details on this and other solutions.  I’d imagine the problem of an inclusive pronunciation, as opposed to orthography, would have been addressed.


> On Aug 23, 2020, at 9:43 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> The mention of Romance languages and grammatical gender reminded me of
> a 2018 article about French.
> Website: Economist
> Article: Vive la différence - Language activists are trying to make
> French gender-neutral
> Date: May 17th 2018
> https://www.economist.com/europe/2018/05/17/language-activists-are-trying-to-make-french-gender-neutral
> [Begin excerpt]
> IN FRENCH, as in English, full stops traditionally belong at the end
> of sentences. But lately they have been invading the middle of words.
> Organisers of recent university sit-ins have called on étudiant.e.s
> (students) to join the blockades. Pressure groups urge their
> militant.e.s (activists) and adhérent.e.s (members) to take part in
> rallies. Normally, the forms of these nouns ending with “es” are
> feminine; those with just an “s” are masculine. The optional “e”
> between full stops attempts to make them unisex. It is all part of
> l’écriture inclusive, or inclusive writing—a defiant response to
> charges of French linguistic patriarchy.
> [End excerpt]
> I have only seen the beginning of the article because it is behind a paywall.
> Garson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list