I was just trying to explain the problem of gender locking in French grammar to a friend the other day, Allison Washington.

Have you heard of the new proposal to use the pronoun os for third person gender indeterminate?

As in, “Os a voulu parler sans spécifier le genre de son interlocuteur ou de soi-même.

Of course that doesn’t really help with adjectives, especially what with first person agreement.

But then, the French seem to be a little more laid back about gender in language than we anglophones are.

I think maybe that’s because so much of their grammatical gendering isn’t perceived as biological gendering.

I could write a narrative, for example, where I refer to a male character as la personne, and then use elle to refer back.

It used to startle me when writers did that when I was first learning French.

Interesting times indeed, though, for language and gender!


Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com