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Applied Linguistics | French and Francophone Language and Literature | French Linguistics


Ana Conboy


Gender neutral and inclusive language has become more prominent around the world with the recognition of non- binary genders. This trend has extended to the French-speaking non-binary community, which has begun to find ways to subvert the gendered constructs of the French language using various strategies that work within the language and the research of linguist Alpheratz who has proposed a neutral grammatical gender. This third gender would function as well as the masculine and feminine genders and serve as an option for francophone non-binary people. But this gender neutral system is less interested in the non-binary community, and has a purpose that reaches much further: eliminating the sexism inherent in the French grammar rules that dictate that the masculine is the neutral gender and that the masculine gender takes priority. However, this third gender faces significant obstacles in the way of becoming an official part of the French language including the French Academy and the Délégation Générale à la Langue Française at aux Langues de France. It is unlikely that the third gender will become standard any time soon, but with continued effort, it is certainly possible.