French Prime Minister Criticizes Gender-Inclusive Language

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The French prime minister completely shut down a push for a gender-inclusive language, according to a memo Tuesday.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe refused the movement pushing to create a gender-inclusive language through new spelling and grammatical rules, the Daily Mail reported. Philippe wanted to “end the controversy” of creating mixed group plural words that are gender inclusive, such as writing the plural of readers — in French “lecteurs” to “lecteur.rice.s” — to signify the presence of women.

“The masculine [form] is a neutral form which should be used for terms liable to apply to women,” Philippe wrote in a memo to ministers. He also demanded that government ministries avoid all forms of gender-inclusive rules, saying that it would create difficulties for “reasons of intelligibility and clarity.” All public services are also expected to use the traditional form, Philippe added.

The French Academy, a 400-year-old authority on the French language has generated backlash for the push to make the language more female-friendly. Member Sir Michael Edwards called the gender-inclusive language changes “gibberish,” reported the Independent.

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