Language as a tool of embodiment: A case study of inclusive and genderneutral writings in French

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Language as a tool of embodiment: A case study of inclusive and genderneutral writings in French

Author: Liv Rendl
Source: LingUU Journal, Vol. 6, Iss. 1, pp. 4-17
Year: 2022
Published by: LingUU Journal

Abstract
Gender plays an important role in language not only in a purely grammatical sense, as some languages like French or German have grammatical gender, but also in a personal sense. By using gendered pronouns, gendered adjectives or gendered verb forms, we allow for a greater understanding of the person we are talking about (be it ourselves or someone else). This relates to Butler’s claim of gender being a performative act (1988). The presented case study compiles a small corpus of examples
of the linguistic phenomena occurring in French: the Écriture Inclusive (Inclusive Writing) and the Écriture Neutre (Gender-Neutral writing) (the latter being more specific to the francophone queer and feminist community) based on the works by Alpheratz (2018, 2019) and Greco (2019). Its goal is to take an in-depth look at the meaning and implications of each of those writing forms, analysing it under the light of Butler’s argumentation (1988) of gender as a performative act, as well as how they allow to put words onto a (social) reality.

Keywords
French; gender-neutral writing; inclusive writing; sociolinguistics; word meaning

Appendix
Download the appendix here.