French language starting to change to gender neutral

It is now acceptable instead of using " il or elle " to use " iel ". It derived from usage by the young and is now officially recognised into the language.

Is there an UN/UNE equivalent?

How is that pronounced?

Unusually for me… I’m well ahead of the trend, or so it would seem…

There are some words which always give me difficulty… and I get over it by talking about “notre xxxxx”… or “votre xxxxx” or even “les/des xxxxx” and no-one has batted an eyelid…

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Not by the French Academy it isn’t!!

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Is the aim to simplify French or embrace all this 57 genders nonsense that’s plaguing English speaking nations?

Language changes over time doesn’t it, as we all know.

In UK English the most noticeable two changes for me are the use of the word ‘so’ at the beginning of an answer to a question, and the other is the tendency for the voice to rise at the end of an answer, as if asking a question.

Don’t think I’d notice any changes in the French language. I hear however that there are some rumblings of disapproval in government circles.

When I first came to live in France I was troubled by gender, ‘le’ or ‘la’, ‘un’ or ‘une’, and embarrassingly I’d stand to one side and wait to be the last one at La Poste counter asking for a stamp! Never could remember.

The other gender problem was when I was looking for the town hall, and asked someone, who replied “who’s husband?”.

That’s funny but it’s a vowel problem rather than an article problem, mairie and mari aren’t homophones.
Mairie is pronounced meh-ree-(uh) and mari ma-ree.


Yell. The minister for education that swivel-eyed bald twat is off on a campaign against it.


That’s horrible, do we want a homogenised and (literally) neutered. language?

I understand it has been included in a dictionary (Robert I think) - quite rightly as it is in use, and the job of a dictionary is to help people understand the language - they (like grammar, etc) are descriptive. not prescriptive.
If it’s taken up by a politicians you can be sure they know little and care less about language, but see an opportunity to pose for their profile.

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Hang on there folks, this is about refering to the gendre of a person (trans-gendre etc.) that’s all, everything else remains the same so you’ll just have to keep struggling with “is it le or la” and all the related agreements… :rofl:

Qu’est-ce qu’un iel ?

Pronom de la troisième personne du singulier permettant de désigner les personnes, sans distinction de genre. — Note : Il sert notamment à désigner une personne ne s’inscrivant pas dans un genre défini, ou dont le genre n’ est pas connu.


The French woman who I asked explained that she was thrown by my use of ‘le’ instead of ‘la’ for the town hall. Not the pronunciation of ‘mari’ or ‘mairie’. She was kind to elaborate - she obviously knew I was English - as they all seem to do even now!

‘What time is it please’ still has an English accent, however careful I am.

And sticking “like” in at a moment’s notice in the middle of a phrase.

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la mairie, Marie, le mari… :thinking: pronunciation (vowel) and gendre :wink:

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A bit off-thread here - about French/English pronunciation.

I had a conversation with a young French woman who had a degree in English. She said she, her husband and the French couldn’t correctly pronounce ‘th’ as in think or weather . I demonstrated with pursed lips, tongue position, etc., but trying quite hard, she and her husband couldn’t say it and looked very annoyed.

I googled this ‘th’ problem, and indeed French people seem to have issues getting their lips, tongues and teeth in the right place for some English word pronunciation.

Then I was reminded when Dad moved us from outer London into inner London in 1949, and schoolmates asked me why I speak posh. At eight years old, I didn’t know what this meant, but I remember how they spoke, saying ‘fink’ rather than ‘think’ using ‘f’ or ‘v’ in nearly all other words with ‘th’ in them. And many Londoners still do, to this day.

I thought it was London culture or custom, but maybe it is also about mouth architecture, as in the French example.

As to using ‘iel’ to cover both ‘il or elle’ doesn’t bother me, but if it did, it would be an age matter - elders don’t always like change!

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I’ve spent a lot of time with native speakers of lots of languages, and have come across this frequently - sometimes it’s not just that you can’t make exactly the right sound - you can’t even hear the difference between the required sound and the one you’re making!


Many (especially older) French speakers simply cannot differentiate vowels in English, particularly short and long vowels, so there’s no difference between eg sheet and shit, folk and fork etc

This applies in reverse to English speakers.

In Arabic there are several different S T and D and K/Q sounds written with different letters, lots of people* can’t say or hear them.
The same goes for tones in Chinese and Vietnamese and no doubt other languages too.

*edited because I meant non native-speakers when I wrote ‘people’.

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American comments online, so many times, end with LOL. Hate it!

If LOL meant ‘Lots Of Love’ I’d really, like, totally, ginormously accept it. Like!