Language plays a crucial role in shaping our perceptions and attitudes towards different groups of people. As such, it is important to use language that is respectful and non-discriminatory in order to create a more inclusive society. In this article, we’ll go over some tips for writing in French in an inclusive way.
- Avoid Gendered Language: In French, nouns are assigned a gender (masculine or feminine), which determines the articles and adjectives used to describe them. However, using gendered language can be limiting and exclude those who do not identify with the binary gender system. To be more inclusive, you can use gender-neutral terms when possible, or add a combination of the masculine and feminine articles when referring to a group of people. For example, instead of using the masculine form “tout citoyen,” you could use the gender-neutral term “tout·e citoyen·ne.”
- Use Person-First Language: Person-first language is a way of writing or speaking that emphasizes the person over their characteristics or condition. This type of language acknowledges the individual as a person first and recognizes their dignity and humanity. For example, instead of saying “the blind,” say “people who are blind.”
- Be Sensitive to Disability Language: Avoid using language that is ableist, or language that is discriminatory towards people with disabilities. For example, instead of using the term “handicapped,” use “person with a disability.” Also, avoid using metaphors that equate disability with negativity, such as “lame.” Instead, use language that is respectful and empowering, such as “person with a mobility impairment.”
- Avoid Stereotyping: Stereotyping can be harmful and perpetuate discrimination. Avoid using language that reinforces negative stereotypes, such as using racial slurs or making assumptions about people based on their gender, race, or sexual orientation. For example, instead of saying “all Mexicans are lazy,” say “some people believe that Mexicans are lazy, but this is a harmful stereotype.”
- Respect Pronouns: Pronouns are an important aspect of a person’s identity, and using the correct pronoun can be a powerful way to show respect for someone’s gender identity. If you’re unsure of someone’s preferred pronouns, ask them. For example, instead of assuming that someone uses the pronoun “he,” ask them what pronouns they prefer.
In conclusion, writing in an inclusive way is a critical step in creating a more inclusive society. By following these tips, you can help to break down barriers and promote respect and understanding for all people, regardless of their background or identity. Whether you’re a writer, teacher, or simply someone who wants to communicate more effectively, taking the time to use language in an inclusive way can have a positive impact on those around you.