Le Robert’s director general, Charles Pimpant, on Wednesday defended the addition to the online version of his prestigious dictionary of “iel” genderless pronouns, following criticism from Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer.
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In a tweet he wrote on Tuesday, Mr Blanquer gave his support to majority deputy François Jolivier, who denounced the introduction of the word, used mainly by the young audience, in a letter to the French Academy.
“Obviously I 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 noticed that it was being used more and more.
“In addition, the meaning of the word 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…refuse 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) which we promise you will define soon.
“Evil thinker. Music scholar. Hipster-friendly communicator. Bacon geek. Amateur internet enthusiast. Introvert.”