Iel est gentil.le (prononciation)

MLDC

New Member
English
Hi all,

I'm wondering if anyone knows the rule for "les accords" with a gender neutral subject. From my understanding, "iel" is the gender-neutral subject and adjectives (in written form) get both "accords" with a period in between.
E.G. Iel est gentil.le.
  • Is the ending here pronounced as 2 syllables? gen/til./le?
  • For the adjectives that change more in their ending (E.G. sportif.ve), what does that sound like?

Further, is it now grammatically correct to "Mon.a meilleur.e ami.e s’appelle"? and if yes, what does that sound like when it's spoken?

Thanks :)
 
  • msfeather12

    Member
    English
    Does your question arise from the tendency whose counterpart is the effort to render Spanish gender neutral, the main example of which is Latinx, rather than Latino/Latina?
     
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    Michelvar

    Quasimodo
    French / France
    Hello, and welcome, MLDC :)

    From my understanding, "iel" is the gender-neutral subject
    For some people, yes, but it's not the case for every French speaker. Especially, it's not what is taught in schools. Moreover, that's "a" gender-neutral subject, there are other choices.
    adjectives (in written form) get both "accords" with a period in between
    Some people, fewer than for "iel", may use this form. But that's not recommanded. What is recommanded is to use a genderless adjective, like "aimable". "iel est aimable / sympathique / agréable".
    Is the ending here pronounced as 2 syllables? gen/til./le?
    There is no real rule, hence the recommandation to not use it.
    For the adjectives that change more in their ending (E.G. sportif.ve), what does that sound like?
    That's the problem, so very few people would seriously use this on a regular basis when speaking.
    Further, is it now grammatically correct to "Mon.a meilleur.e ami.e s’appelle"?
    Not in "official" French, but anyone is free to invent a language.
     

    WannaBFluent

    Senior Member
    Français
    The so-called "écriture inclusive" is not supposed to be spoken at all. That's why it's called "écriture".

    I know there's a French extremist feminist who speaks, not "genderly neutral", but by "feminizing" all the words, even adverbs.
    She says "elle était une fois" instead of "il était une fois" for example, or "matrimoine" instead of "patrimoine", "à une momente" instead of "à un moment". She's called Typhaine D in youtube if you're interested about hearing it.
    Note that most people (more than 99% of French people, including me) consider this way of talking completely wrong and dumb.

    Thus, I strongly recommend not to talk like her or "genderly neutral" as it will just confuse your interlocutor. Even more if you're not a native French speaker as he will just think you're making tons of mistakes and might not understand you at all if you're accent is broken with that.

    Further, is it now grammatically correct to "Mon.a meilleur.e ami.e s’appelle"?
    No, it's not and it will never be.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    The politically correct way to read out a gender-neutral text written with such dots* is to use conjunction et or ou depending on context. Thus "mon.a meilleur.e ami.e" is supposed to be pronounced "mon meilleur ami ou ma meilleure amie".

    However, I find this so cumbersome that, as far as I'm concerned, if I were to read out such a text, I would render the dotted words in their neutral form, equivalent to the masculine, effectively dropping everything beyond each dot. In other words, if I were to read out "mon.a meilleur.e ami.e", I would simply say "mon meilleur ami".

    * Note: Periods (.) should never be used; middle dots (·) should be used instead (e.g., mon·ma meilleur·e ami·e).
     

    mehoul

    Senior Member
    french (du Midi de la France)
    The politically correct way to read out a gender-neutral text written with such dots* is to use conjunction et or ou depending on context. Thus "mon.a meilleur.e ami.e" is supposed to be pronounced "mon meilleur ami ou ma meilleure amie".

    Cette solution ne couvre pas le cas des personnes intersexe (intersexuées?).
     

    Topsie

    Senior Member
    English-UK
    Cette solution ne couvre pas le cas des personnes intersexe (intersexuées?).
    Bah! C'est l'éternel problème de la langue française...:oops:

    Pour choisir la bonne traduction de "My best friend" il faut savoir s'il s'agit de "he", "she" ou "they" - et pour ce dernier il n'existe pas (encore) de pronom courant, iel/ielle étant un nouveaté ;)
     
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    enattente

    Senior Member
    French & English; Ontario, Canada
    Hello MLDC,

    As others have said, it depends on context. If you are simply trying to write a text that is inclusive of all genders, using the masculine is fine because it is the grammatical generic ("mes chers lecteurs") or you can repeat the nouns while leaving the adjectives masculine and not repeating the article ("mes chers lecteurs et lectrices"). This is called "rédaction épicène" and there are many guides available online. People do use the dotted forms since it is briefer than repeating, but this is not recommended and there is no oral equivalent -- you either repeat things or you don't.

    "Iel" should only be used for referring to nonbinary people whose self-identification involves using a non-gendered pronoun. This is MUCH more common in English than in French because people are already used to using "they" as a singular pronoun. So use it sparingly.

    In writing, you can use the dotted forms for referring to a single nonbinary person if you want. If you are pronouncing them, pick one or the other and feel free to switch back and forth, as long as it doesn't get too confusing. The best is always to ask people what they prefer. Most nonbinary francophones have a grammatical gender they are comfortable with.
     
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