Editions of Le Robert, on Wednesday, defended the addition to the online version of its prestigious French dictionary for the pronoun “iel”, to avoid gender discrimination, after criticism from the education minister.
The latter, Jean-Michel Blanquer, gave his support to the majority member, François Jollivé, who denounced the introduction of this word, used mainly by a young audience, in a letter to the French Academy, the official guardian of the French language.
“I obviously support @FJolivet36’s protest towards #PetitRobert. Inclusive writing is not the future of the French language. Although our students are in the process of solidifying their basic knowledge, they cannot have this as a reference,” Mr. Blanker tweeted on Tuesday.
In a press release posted on Robert’s website, his general manager, Charles Pimpinet, confirmed the addition of “a few weeks” to the word “iel” in its online version and denied 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.
Moreover, the meaning of the word “iel” cannot be understood from its only reading […] It seemed useful to us to define its meaning for those who cross it, whether they want to use it or vice versa.. they reject it, he writes.
To recall that “Robert’s job is to monitor and report on the development of a mobile and diverse French language. Identifying words that mean the world helps to better understand it.”
No offense to some, he concluded, Lou Robert was suddenly unaffected by the sharp ‘walk’, which is ‘opaque’ (not yet defined, editor’s note) which we promise to define soon.”
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