Adding the pronoun “iel” to Robert causes controversy

A new pronoun “iel” has been added to the online version of Le Robert’s French-language dictionary, which has sparked heated debate in France.

The contraction of the pronouns “he” and “she”, the new word is used to denote non-dual persons, that is, neither masculine nor feminine.

The word is “the subject of a personal pronoun for the absent owner in the singular and plural, used to refer to a person of any gender,” according to the definition adopted in the dictionary.

The addition of the new decremental pronoun in the plural in “iels” and “ielles” is justified by the extent of its use and efforts to include in the French dictionary.

“We found that word was growing and we combined it,” Le Robert’s managing editor for Le Robert, Marie-Helen Dreyfud, attempted to explain, reported by France Inter radio, Wednesday.

The addition of the new pronoun caused quite a stir in France, to the point of causing outcry among publishers, but also on a political level.

Presidential Majority Vice-President François Jollivier estimated that the users of these new words were “fighters of a cause that has nothing to do with French”, “wokie”.

The deputy of the Republic of La République en Marche (LREM) said he entered the French Academy to protest the Le Robert dictionary initiative.

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Following in his footsteps, French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said on Twitter that “inclusive writing is not the future of the French language”.

The author of dictionaries from Larousse also criticized the “hardline approach” of his rival. “The pronoun ‘iel’ is unnecessary and impolite. It is an aberration,” denounced Bernard Cirqueglini in Le Figaro daily.

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