French Dictionary Le Robert has decided to add the entry “iel” – a combination of “il” and “elle”, which means “he” and “she” respectively in French – in the online version of his dictionary in October .
It is a “personal subject pronoun of the third person singular and plural, used to designate a person without distinction of sex”, indicates the entry of the dictionary.
With its plural and feminine form, collectively called “iel, ielle, iels, ielles”, this new addition to the French language has aroused strong opposition from some French politicians.
His anger resonated with other French lawmakers, including Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer.
“Therefore, even if our students consolidate their fundamental knowledge, they cannot have this as a benchmark. ”
CNN has contacted the Académie Française, the governing body of the French language, for comment.
French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal reiterated the government’s position “not to use inclusive writing in all official and administrative documents” during its weekly press conference on Wednesday.
Le Robert responded on Wednesday with a statement saying he was simply trying to reflect the recent changes in the French language he had noticed.
He admitted that the general use of “iel” is still low, and the dictionary entry reports that the word is “rare”. But the editorial board thought it would be helpful to include the entry and clarify its meaning for people so they can decide whether they want to use it or reject it.
“The mission of Le Robert is to observe the evolution of a French language in movement, diverse, and to report on it”, specifies the press release.
He also said in the statement that most of the feedback he has received is positive.
Outrage has come as France becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the cultural influence of other nations.
This was put to the test when French love for secularism – known as “laïcité” in French – was questioned by many in the United States.
These observations were made with “social science theories entirely imported from the United States”, which are not compatible with the history of France, French President Emmanuel Macron said in October 2020.