LANGUAGE SAGES FIGHT LEFTIST GOVT’S MOVE TO FEMINIZE TITLES

Posted on in Politica e lingue 8 vedi

LANGUAGE SAGES FIGHT LEFTIST GOVT’S MOVE TO FEMINIZE TITLES

PARIS (AP) _ IT’S AS SIMPLE AS TRADING A “LA” FOR A “LE.” BUT SAYING “MADAME LA MINISTRE” HAS TURNED INTO A BATTLE BETWEEN THE REFORMIST LEFTIST GOVERNMENT AND OLD-GUARD DEFENDERS OF THE FRENCH LANGUAGE.
THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK IT WILL REQUIRE THE USE OF FEMINIZED TITLES, SOMETHING THE SAGES AT THE ACADEMIE FRANCAISE ARE FIGHTING TO BLOCK.
THE ACADEMIE MAY GO TO THE COUNTRY’S HIGHEST LEGAL BODY TO STOP THEM.
“SOCIALIST IDEOLOGY IS RUINING FRANCE AND THE FRENCH LANGUAGE AT THE SAME TIME,” ACADEMIE HEAD MAURICE DRUON, 80, TOLD THE CONSERVATIVE DAILY LE FIGARO, WHICH RAN A PHOTO OF HIM WEARING A BLACK HAT LIKE THE SHERIFF RIDING IN FOR A SHOWDOWN.
THE 39-MEMBER ACADEMIE, WHICH INCLUDES JUST TWO WOMEN, WAS TO DISCUSS AT ITS ANNUAL MEETING THURSDAY WHETHER TO ASK THE COUNCIL OF STATE OR THE CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL TO RULE, SAID LAURENT PERSONNE, A SPOKESMAN FOR DRUON.
DRUON, BORN DURING WORLD WAR I WHEN FRENCH WAS STILL THE LINGUA FRANCA OF DIPLOMACY, LEADS THE CHARGE TO STAVE OFF WORDS LIKE “SOFTWARE,” “MARKETING” AND “TOUR OPERATOR” _ ALL NO-NOS IN THE OFFICIAL FRENCH DICTIONARY.
MORE THAN PAST BATTLES AGAINST ENCROACHING ENGLISH, THE LATEST LANGUAGE FIGHT BOILS DOWN TO FRANCE’S STRUGGLE OVER HOW TO MODERNIZE.
“EVERY OPPORTUNITY MUST BE TAKEN TO INTRODUCE THE FEMININE FORM OF NAMES OF JOB OCCUPATIONS, SO THAT THE USE OF THE LATTER IMPOSES ITSELF LITTLE BY LITTLE IN OUR ADMINISTRATION,” SAID THE MINISTERIAL DECREE, TO TAKE EFFECT JULY 9. ONE OF THE EDUCATION MINISTERS IS A WOMAN, SEGOLENE ROYAL.
NEW TITLES WILL INCLUDE “INSPECTRICE” ALONG WITH “INSPECTEUR” (INSPECTOR), “DOYENNE” WITH “DOYEN” (DEAN) AND THE FEMININE ARTICLES “LA” OR “UNE” BEFORE NEUTRALLY SPELLED TERMS LIKE “CHEF DE SERVICE” (SERVICE CHIEF).
IN STRICT FRENCH GRAMMAR, AS DRUON ARGUES, ALL NOUNS ARE MASCULINE OR FEMININE, WITHOUT REGARD TO THE GENDER OF THE PERSON TO WHOM THEY REFER.
THE MINISTRY’S DECREE ACTUALLY IMPLEMENTS A LITTLE-NOTICED DECISION MADE 12 YEARS AGO BY SOCIALIST PRIME MINISTER LAURENT FABIUS. DRUON TOLD LE FIGARO THAT THE CURRENT SOCIALIST PRIME MINISTER, LIONEL JOSPIN, “WANTING TO PLEASE HIS HAREM, RELAUNCHED AN OLD IDEA.”
“HE’S AN OLD FOOL,” ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE LILLIANE HANSEN SAID OF DRUON. “THIS IS WHY THE COUNTRY IS IN TROUBLE. IT’S COMPLETELY STUCK.”
THE BATTLE FIRST FLARED IN JANUARY, WHEN THE ACADEMIE SENT A LETTER TO CONSERVATIVE PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC, ASKING HIM TO INTERVENE WITH THE GOVERNMENT’S PLANS TO FEMINIZE TITLES.
PERSONNE SAID CHIRAC RESPONDED, BUT HE WOULD NOT ELABORATE. CHIRAC’S ELYSEE PALACE HAD NO IMMEDIATE COMMENT.
“THE ACADEMIE IS NOT IGNORED,” PERSONNE INSISTED. “ON THE CONTRARY.”
BUT THE BODY HAS NO LEGAL AUTHORITY, SO WITHOUT OFFICIAL ACTION ON ITS BEHALF, IT MAY BE A TOOTHLESS TIGER.
01 JUL 98




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