Le Robert’s director general, Charles Pimpent, on Wednesday defended the addition to the online version of his prestigious dictionary of “iel” non-gender pronouns, following criticism from Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer.
In a tweet he wrote on Tuesday, Mr Blanquer gave his support to majority deputy Francois Jolivier, who denounced the introduction of this word, used mainly by the young audience, in a letter to the French Academy.
“I obviously support @FJolivet36’s protest towards #PetitRobert. Comprehensive writing is not the future of the French language. Although our students are in the process of solidifying their basic knowledge, they cannot have it as a reference.
In a press release posted on Robert’s website, Charles Pimpinet confirmed the addition of the word “iel” “a few weeks ago” in his online version and is defending himself against any activity.
If he realizes that the use of this word is “still relatively poor”, he explains that “for a few months, Robert’s librarians have noted” that it is being used more and more.
“In addition, the meaning of iel + cannot be understood by reading it alone (…) and it seems useful to us to assign its meaning to those who come across it, whether they wish to use it or otherwise … reject it,” he wrote.
To recall that “Robert’s task is to observe and describe the evolution of the French language in movement and diversity”. “Determining which words mean the world helps to understand them better.”
To offend some, he concluded, Lou Robert was suddenly unaffected by the +acute +wokism, the word +opaque + (not yet defined, editor’s note) that we promise you will define soon.
“Total coffee aficionado. Travel buff. Music ninja. Bacon nerd. Beeraholic.”