Some French misogyny in the news (and it’s not moi aussi …)

“Flag of French language” / Wikimedia Commons

There are two French-accented items in the news this week: one about the inherent sexism of French grammar, and the other about a particular kind of Frenglish (or is it Franglais?), which you’re likely to hear when you’re north of the border …

First, Carmel McCoubrey talks in the New York Times about some uncomfortable (and very male) truths she discovered in French class. “I still remember my sense of indignation when my high school French teacher told us about the rule: French nouns have a gender, even seemingly sexless ones like “table.” And if you had a mixed group of masculine and female nouns — say, a bunch of male students (étudiants) and female students (étudiantes) — you had to describe them, as a group, in the masculine. ‘What if there are 99 female students and one male student?’ I demanded. It didn’t matter, the teacher said.” Read the full piece here.

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Then, Canada’s The Loop takes a look at a different kind of French that is spoken in North America — specifically, “things Quebecers say that the rest of the world just doesn’t understand.” If you’ve spent any time in that part of Canada, you might have heard words like dep and bise, or someone saying cryptically ‘yes no toaster’.  “Call it Frenglish or Franglais; either way, you can’t spend any amount of time in Quebec without encountering at least some of these localisms, and more than likely incorporating them into your own speech.”

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Hat-tip to Rona and Simon for ces curiosités …

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