The “Immortals” Budge

feminine firefighters

Women firefighters are already often called sapeuses-pompières.

Decades after other French-speaking countries adopted feminine names for professions, the official guardians of the language in France have also backed the change.

The Académie française, whose members are known as “immortals”, has said it has no obstacle in principle to such a “natural evolution” of French.

In its report it said “the academy considers that all developments aiming at recognising in language the place of women in today’s society can be foreseen, as long as they do not contravene the elementary and fundamental rules of language”…

(“Feminine job titles get go-ahead in France,”, 3-1-19)

Examples — Masculine/Feminine:

préfet/préfète (prefect)
député/députée (MP)
avocat/avocate (lawyer)
procureur/procureure (prosecutor)
le juge/la juge
le ministre/la ministre
le médecin/la médecin (doctor) [“médecine” would be confused with “medicine”]
écrivain/écrivaine (writer)
ingénieur/ingénieure (engineer)
sapeur-pompier/sapeuse-pompière (firefighter)

(c) 2019 JMN.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
This entry was posted in Anthology, Quotations and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The “Immortals” Budge

  1. I think I’ve noticed in the uk that actress is used less with actor applicable to both sexes. Also can’t think when I last heard the word comedienne.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JMN says:

      I’m glad you mention this. As I made my post I was thinking precisely of “actress” versus “actor,” and how the trend in English is AWAY from from feminized versions of certain words, unlike in France. “Comedienne” is also a good instance. Amelia Earhart was an “aviatrix” in her day! I think “heiress”is still used, on the other hand. French, of course, is more heavily gendered in its morphology than English, so the two languages are on somewhat different playing fields.


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