France Outlaws Gender-Neutral Language in Schools
No doubt, youâve heard of the push from the political left to install the use of gender-neutral terms in just about all manner of speech in the United States. The House of Representatives, for instance, has created an entirely new rule that prohibits the use of words like mother, father, brother, sister, etc. Instead, congressional members must now use the terms âthem,â âtheir,â âthey,â âsibling,â âparent,â etc.
But as it turns out, the problem isnât just here in America. Other Western nations such as France are getting these ideas pushed down their throats too.
Only in France, it causes a bit more drama than just the idea of inclusivity.
Instead, according to Academie Francaise, the national education ministry, âusing gender-neutral spellingsâ is a direct âthreat to the French language.â
They go on to explain that the ministry is âresponsible for guarding the French language and that changing the spellings of words to make them gender-neutral will be âharmful to the practice and understanding of French,â according to the Daily Mail.
And so the practice was banned in all schools nationwide last week.
To understand why these gender-neutral terms are such a threat, you have to understand something of the French language, namely that is what is called a gendered language.
This means that all nouns are given a specific gender. The word for car, for example, which is âvoiture,â is female, indicated by the silent âeâ at the end of the term.
However, some nouns, in particular ones that refer to people, can change genders, and so their spellings depending on who they are referring to. âAmi,â for instance, is the word for friend, and in particular, a male friend. Adding an âeâ to the end, making it âamie,â refers to a female friend.
And when we are talking of multiple friends and in mixed settings, the male spelling is preferred. So a group of friends that include at least one male is âamis,â without the feminine âe.â
Naturally, the gender included in the spellings of these words poses a unique problem for those wishing to impose gender neutrality.
Per the Daily Mail, the solution has been to propose âfull stops in the middle of written words â dubbed âmidpointsâ â which allow both male and female forms to be represented simultaneously.â So, the gender-neutral word for friends becomes âami.e.s,â including both the male version of the word and the feminine âe.â
As you can imagine, this makes the language even more complicated than before for new learners. And thusly, it is believed that allowing such an addition to the language will discourage it from being taught and/or used, particularly in its written form. Most spellings, even with the midpoints included, wouldnât change the pronunciation of the word.
The Daily Mail reported that the opposers of the changes say, âdifferences between written and spoken French would make the language harder to learn and threaten its entire existence.â
In addition, Franceâs education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, says the âuse of dots in the middle of wordsâ would make the language increasingly difficult for those âwith learning disabilities such as dyslexia.â
And Franceâs state secretary for priority education, Nathalie Elimas, agrees. She says, âWith the spread of inclusive writing, the English language â already quasi-hegemonic across the world â would certainly and perhaps forever defeat the French language.â
Of course, leftist teachersâ unions such as Solidaires Unitaires DÃ©mocratiques say teachers should âignoreâ the new national ban of these altered spellings and teach them anyway. According to a recent statement, they demand that Blanquer âstop trying to impose his backwardness on the education community.â
However, it doesnât look as though the French government will kowtow to the leftist demands any time soon. As it stands already, they did allow for some language changes to be made.
For instance, the Daily Mail noted that âCertain job titles should change forms when the person holding the role is female. For example, a female president would be referred to as âprÃ©sidente.â Job application forms should also include both male and female titles to encourage more women to apply, the decree added.â
It is noted that these are likely to be the only concessions made, as The New York Times reports that many French leaders, including President Emmanual Macron, believe Americaâs allowance of âwokeâ rules and regulations poses a threat not only to American culture as a whole but also to that of France.
And this ban on gender-neutral spellings is a clear sign that France is not having it.
Oh, that Biden would take this lesson to heart.