Publish at September 14 2022 Updated September 14 2022

Is the existence of "iel" really problematic?

Is this a healthy linguistic reaction or a reactionary opposition?

In November 2021, the dictionary le Petit Robert introduces in its digital version the pronoun "iel," increasingly used particularly among so-called nonbinary people or those unwilling to presuppose a gender. A decision that has caused national indignation in France. This pronoun would be the word of too much, the death knell of the French language and it was necessary for the director of the Robert to explain its integration while every year, dozens of terms enter without causing any debate.

The linguistics youtuber Linguisticae therefore had no choice, to his great regret, to have to deal with the "scandal". For him, it is no surprise that this one is in the dictionary. After all, he believes it is used in a large body of text; logically, it enters the lexemes even if its use remains rare. Thus, the very angry videographer reminds the politicians that their ignorance of a word does not make it worthless. That it is exactly the role of a dictionary to inventory words. He fell off his chair, moreover, that the former French teacher and wife of the French president, Brigitte Macron, asserts that there are only two pronouns in French. What about the on, du ça, du cela, de chacun and others then? In addition, there are regional neutral pronouns in France.

The youtuber does not use and has not really heard this pronoun and yet, according to him, this does not change its relevance in the Petit Robert. The latter added the verb s'entrucher, linked to an expression in the Champagne region of France, without creating a stir in the rest of the French-speaking world. A dictionary doesn't force words on a population, it lists and explains them.

Time: 25min29

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