June 30, 2022

Brigitte Macron criticizes the addition of the pronoun “iel” in the Robert’s online dictionary

After Jean-Michel Blanquer or the deputy of the majority François Jolivet, it is Brigitte Macron’s turn to take a stand, Thursday, November 18, against Robert’s decision to add the non-gender pronoun “iel” to the online version from his dictionary. For the wife of the President of the Republic, “There are two pronouns: he and she. The language is so beautiful. And two pronouns are good ”, she declared during a trip devoted to school bullying in a college in Paris with the Minister of National Education.

“We must not triturate the French language whatever the causes, for his part added Mr. Blanquer. Feminism is a great cause, but it is not a cause that justifies crushing the French language. For example, it is very good to feminize the names of professions (…) on the other hand the midpoint, the unexpected modifications of the French language, it is not good in any respect, including for the essential subject [de] the learning of fundamental knowledge from our students. “ For Mr. Blanquer, the French language “Is sufficiently complex, we don’t need to add more”.

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A position that is not necessarily shared by all within the government. Thus, the Minister Delegate in charge of equality between women and men, Elisabeth Moreno, does not find “Shocking” this decision of the Petit Robert. “It’s progress for people who want to recognize themselves in this pronoun, she said Wednesday on Franceinfo. I don’t see what it takes away from those who don’t feel like using it. ”

In a statement published on the Robert’s website on Wednesday, the general manager of Le Robert editions, Charles Bimbenet, confirmed the addition there is ” a few weeks “ you against «Iel» in its online edition and defends itself against any activism. “Iel”, a contraction of “he” and “she”, is a “Personal pronoun subject of the third person singular and plural, used to refer to a person of any gender. The use of the pronoun iel in inclusive communication ”, can we now read on the dictionary site.


A decision that provoked a lot of criticism in the majority and on the right. The first reaction came from the deputy of La République en Marche François Jolivet, who denounced the entry of this word, mainly used by a young audience, in a letter to the French Academy. “Its authors are therefore the militants of a cause which has nothing French about it: wokism”, he attacked.

« C‘is an offense against the French language and I am not for deconstructing the French language: in the French language the neutral is the masculine, also indicated the candidate for the nomination on the right, Valérie Pécresse, Thursday on RTL. I have inclusive writing banned in my region [l’Ile de France]. The real problem with this pseudo-inclusive writing is that no one speaks it (…) : she excluded. “” I will ban inclusive writing in all official texts and in school textbooks, reacted for his part Eric Ciotti, also a candidate for the Republican party for the presidency. The French cannot give in to wokism! “

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In his response to the critics, Mr. Bimbenet acknowledges that the use of this word is “Still relatively weak”, but, according to him, “For a few months, the librarians of Robert” found that it was being used more and more. It also specifies:

“Moreover, the meaning of the word iel cannot be understood by reading it alone (…) and it seemed useful to us to clarify its meaning for those who meet it, whether they wish to use it or on the contrary… reject it. “

Mr. Bimbenet also recalls that “Robert’s mission is to observe the evolution of a French language in movement, diverse, and to give an account of it”. “Defining the words that mean the world is helping to understand it better”, he concluded.

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