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But it is nothing new, and follows feminist linguistic campaigns dating to the French Revolution.Efforts in the 1980s by Socialist president Francois Mitterrand to introduce feminine versions of the names of professions met with stiff resistance from the Academie Francaise.
Raphael Haddad, whose public relations firm published an inclusive writing manual last year, welcomed the debate, saying it would foster acceptance of the feminisation of the names of professions."Ten years ago, people criticised words like ambassadress... The debate comes as the issue of sexual harassment, abuse and violence is capturing headlines worldwide in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Paris (AFP) - Moves to make French more female-friendly have sparked impassioned debate in France, with an appalled Academie Francaise warning of a "mortal danger" to the language of Moliere.
At the centre of the debate is the growing use of formulations such as "s" for the word "readers" to embrace both genders.
Several government ministries, universities and labour unions use so-called "inclusive writing", but it had largely escaped public notice -- until this autumn when it turned up in an elementary school history textbook.
The Academie Francaise, the arbiter of the French language which has inducted just eight women since its foundation in 1635, did not mince words."In the face of this 'inclusive' aberration, the French language finds itself in mortal danger," the body intoned.
(The earliest period, pre-1150, is much longer than 50 years, because more precise dating of words from this early stage in the history of English is very problematic.) If you switch to the "cumulative" view, then you can see how the total number of loanwords from each language has built up over time.