Heated debates in perspective: at the initiative of the right, senators are examining this Monday evening a bill aimed at “protecting the French language from the abuses of so-called inclusive writing “. A text deemed “retrograde” by the left.
While Emmanuel Macron inaugurates during the day the International City of the French Language in the restored castle of Villers-Cotterêts, the coincidence of the calendar gives a certain echo to the work of the Senate: the text of the senator (Les Républicains) Pascale Gruny foresees in effect to ban inclusive writing “in all cases where the legislator (and possibly the regulatory power) requires a document in French”.
A wide range is targeted: instructions for use, employment contracts, internal company regulations, but also legal acts, which would then be considered inadmissible or void if the measure were to be applied. The senators are calling for a ban on grammatical words constituting neologisms such as “iel”, a contraction of “he” and “she”, or “celles”, a contraction of “those” and “those”.
VIDEO. Understanding everything about inclusive writing
The bill also plans to include the ban on inclusive writing in the education code, while its use is already prohibited in schools by a circular from the former Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer in 2021.
“A reactionary text”, judges the left
“It is a practice which is precisely contrary to inclusion,” argues rapporteur Cédric Vial to AFP. This is an additional constraint for people with disabilities and illiteracy, or those suffering from dyslexia. To include, on the contrary, the language must be simplified. »
For the rapporteur, for example, there is “no problem” with the feminine declension of a word, such as “the senators and the senators” instead of “the senators”. On the other hand, the midpointas in “senator.rice.s”, is clearly intended.
Adopted and even strengthened in committee on Wednesday, the text arouses indignation among part of the left. “It is an unconstitutional, retrograde and reactionary text, which is part of a long-standing conservative trend in the fight against the visibility of women,” is offended by socialist senator Yan Chantrel.
Described as a “mortal peril” by the French Academy, a tool for its defenders to combat gender inequalities, “so-called inclusive” writing designates, according to the author of the text, “editorial and typographical practices aimed at introducing words grammatical constituting neologisms or to replace the use of the masculine, when it is used in a generic sense, a spelling highlighting the existence of a feminine form.
The bill has a good chance of being adopted given the domination of the right and the center in the upper house, which would be a first in Parliament. But there is no guarantee that it will subsequently be taken up by the embly.