Large French dictionary adds non-binary pronouns for the first time / LGBTQ Nation
One of France’s best-known dictionaries added an entry for third-person non-binary pronouns iel (singular) and iels (plural) last month.
One entry for iel and iels has been added to the dictionary The Robert which says: “Subject personal pronoun in the third person – singular and plural – used to denote a person of any sex.” He mentions alternative spellings she and they.
Related: What Does Ambisexter Mean? These 12 queer terms are now in the dictionary.
Before the last decade, French did not have gender neutral pronouns. I (he is she (she) – and their plurals – are both gendered and are also used to denote objects where the word “it” would be used in English, since each noun in French also has a grammatical gender.
Wiktionary To an entry for iel that says the term was coined in 2013 and he notes that the word comes from LGBTQ communities. Iel is a coat rack of he and she.
“We looked at statistics showing that many people were searching for the word ‘iel’, so we thought it made sense to give them an answer. ” The Robert the editorial director Marie-Hélène Drivaud declared the French LGBTQ magazine STUBBORN.
Asked about other forms of iel, like the object pronoun she, but Drivaud said their use has not “stabilized”.
“The intention is there, especially for other words like ‘celleux’ [for demonstrative pronouns], but it’s still in progress and iel seemed much more common than the others, ”she said.
Other words added by The Robert this year focused on the pandemic, as vaccinodrome (vaccination site), antivax, and pass sanitary (COVID passport). Last year the dictionary added the word transphobia and updated the definitions of kind (sex) and transition.
Other major French dictionaries like Larousse and the Dictionary of the French Academy not added yet iel.