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ADDED ON: 11/19/2021

French dictionary sparks anger by adding non-binary ‘iel’ pronoun

11/18/2021 | ABC Australia

French dictionary Le Robert has added the “iel” pronoun for non-binary people to its online edition, sparking heated debate in a country where grammar is sacrosanct. Le Robert, one of France’s leading dictionaries, said in a statement it added the “iel” pronoun to its list of words a few weeks ago after its researchers noticed increased use of the pronoun in recent months. In English, the gender-neutral “they” has been in use for some years by people who do not identify as male or female. Many public figures — including US Vice-President Kamala Harris — specify “she/her” or “he/his” as their preferred pronoun in Twitter profiles, email sign-offs or CVs to show solidarity with non-binary people. Le Robert’s move has sparked heated debate in the French press and on social media, with several politicians taking issue with the term. The French government is squarely against the idea, and the education ministry has resisted earlier attempts to incorporate inclusive language in the school curriculum. “Inclusive writing is not the future of the French language,” Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, adding that he supported ruling party MP Francois Jolivet’s protest against Le Robert’s move.

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