Brickbat: The French They Are a Funny Race


The French government has barred officials from using the word "mademoiselle" on official forms. They must now refer to all women as "madame." Documents must also now request someone's "family name" and "name of usage" instead of "maiden name" and "spouse's name." Feminists have complained that the banned terms were sexist.

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  1. Isn’t that like saying you can’t use “miss”? I do wish people would stop calling me “young sir” when I am gallavanting about town in my top hat and monocle. But I think a cane is a more expedient solution than a law.

    1. Isn’t that like saying you can’t use “miss”?


      Its context is moreso used along age lines, but also to denote marital status. So the frogs, both male and female, got it wrong. The proper argument is “ageist”; the other complaint is just PC nonsense. Young squire. 🙂

      1. My boss calls me “young man.” Doesn’t bother me much although it always throws me for a loop. I guess everything’s relative.

      2. The feminist wanted the law. They always need to have something to whine about. They are natural-born-victims.

  2. Don’t the French have a bureaucracy dedicated to fighting the degeneration of the French language? Are they asleep at the wheeel?


  3. The next time I’m planning on saying something overly polite I’ll be sure to preface it with “pardon my french.”

    1. Next time I’m making out with a woman I’ll be sure to preface it with “pardon my french.”

      1. Next time I drop my weapon and raise my hands with plans to aid the enemy (“Vichy? C’est moi!”), I’ll be sure to preface it with “pardon my French.”

        1. Next time I get mustard on a friend’s shirt, I’ll be sure to preface it with “pardon my French’s.”

    1. My friend has a rule of thumb for spoken French: Pronounce any word phonetically up to and including the first vowel, and ignore the rest of the word.

  4. maiden name = family name
    spouse’s name = name of usage

    Perhaps I am thick, or something has been lost in translation, but how is one to know what these new terms mean without using the forbidden ones as an explanation? A woman’s spouse’s name is not necessarily one she uses, and one could reasonably think “family name” is the name of one’s family with one’s spouse

    Shorter version: bloody French

    1. but how is one to know what these new terms mean without using the forbidden ones as an explanation

      Maybe “family name” is something like “Wayne” and “name of usage” is “Batman.”

      I think the fact that you will probably need instructions to get people to put the answers you expect in the places you want means you’ve done something stupid with the language.

      Also, it seems to me that there’s a pretty strong argument that they have the definitions backwards, especially if the children take the father’s last name and you take the words at face value. If everyone in the family except the wife goes by Jones and she goes by Smith or Smith-Jones, it seems to me that the family name is Smith and the name of usage is Smith or Smith-Jones. By saying family name = maiden name, they are othering her with respect to her new family. Pretty microaggressive, imo.

  5. Hey, we’re nearly as retarded. Hell, the term ‘chairman’ has been replaced by the term ‘chair’. That’s right, we actually refer to the head of a committee as piece of furniture.

    1. Whenever people start that crap around me, I can’t stand it. I ask the nearest lady, “as a wo-person, aren’t you offended being referred to as a variation of a stool?”

      1. You said “stool”…huh huh, huh huh, huh huh, huh huh….

        1. Yup. Never understood the Beavis thing tho.

          1. “I don’t like things that suck. I like things that are cool!”

        2. Well I hear you bro. Apparently ? is so old he farts dust.

    2. So anytime you’re confroted with a female “chair”, sit on her lap.

  6. Also, “womyn’s herstory”, you sexist, ageist, racist, sexist, gayist, indigenist, handycapableist cretin.

    1. Also, sexist

      1. Also, fried chicken.

      2. Also redundist.

  7. German uses the suffix -in for female equivalents of many types of man; eg “Student” vs. “Studentin” for a male vs. female college student. The PC idiots, in order to come up with a “gender-neutral” term to refer to all students, regardless of gneder, came up with the horrid plural StudentInnen, with a captial I in the middle.

    I find it so repulsive that when I see somebody using it on a German-language forum, I move the capital letter over to the N just to make the point.

    1. I wouldn’t mind a neutral third person singular pronoun so that people will stop using “their” to refer to a single person.

      1. We already have one – it

        1. “It” refers to inanimate objects or animals.

          “Kelly needs to put its book back on the shelf” just doesn’t cut it.

          1. hey, you just asked for a neutral third person singular pronoun…

            FWIW, not sure I really care about the use of the 3rd person plural as a sort of neuter. In common with many other European languages we used to use “he”, but I think “they” in this sense is not new either. I don’t get weepy about linguistic change – for me it’s all about clarity first, and aesthetics second. Not convinced this use of “they” significantly erodes nuance or meaning, not is it grating to me (but accept it is to others).

            1. hey, you just asked for a neutral third person singular pronoun…

              “…to refer to a single person.”

              It doesn’t give me an ulcer or anything when people use plural pronouns to refer to a singular person, but I don’t care for it at all… especially when teaching a couple of sixth graders about pronouns, pronoun case and pronoun/antecedent agreement.

              Using “his or her” is no prize, but at least the pronoun will agree with its antecedent.

          2. “Kelly needs to put its book back on the shelf” just doesn’t cut it.

            Au contraire, mon ami. “Kelly” is a gender-neutral, as are all names today.

            1. I say we just do away with written language, if fact, all language, so no one is offended.

            2. “Kelly” is gender-neutral but, at the risk of othering Kelly, the person to whom the name refers probably isn’t.

              1. Anyone with a gender-neutral name gets othered all the time.

          3. I’m a huge proponent of they/them/their as an indeterminate third person singular.

            1. I’m a huge proponent of not using plural pronouns to refer to singular antecedents, but I don’t think this is a battle I can win.

          4. “It” refers to inanimate objects or animals.

            And –at least to my generation– transgenders.

            1. What are gingers, chopped liver?

          5. “It rubs the lotion on its skin.”

        2. Sweden just adopted a gender neutral pronoun

          1. I don’t think we can afford a pronoun gap. We need to move on this.

      2. I wouldn’t mind a neutral third person singular pronoun so that people will stop using “their” to refer to a single person.

        How about a contraction for “He or She or it”: H’orSh’it.

        1. Lose the apostrophes and internal capitalization and I think you’re on to something.

          “Kelly needs to put horshits book back on the shelf” would really liven up an English class.

      3. The usage of “they” and “their” for this purpose has been going on for centuries.

        1. So has slavery. C’mon, man, it’s time we all cast off our shackles and stand up for pronoun/antecedent agreement.

          I don’t profess to be an expert, but it’s my impression that “he” is far more common historically than “they” and “their” and that usage of the plural forms is much more recent.

      4. Finnish has han [sic]* for both he and she (and no grammatical gender). Needless to say, the Finnish equivalents of the usual suspects still complain about sexism.

        * “Han” above should have an umlaut over the a, but even though it shows up in preview, the fucking server squirrels won’t let it through. Yes, I tried the HTML attribute. At least allow ISO-8859-15 characters, please!

  8. Once a thread uses the words a neutral third person singular pronoun., it is officially gay.

    1. H’orSh’it.

    2. You know who else thought neutral third person singular pronouns were gay?

      1. Steve Smith. I don’t think he has ever used the neutral third person singular.

        1. I see that you’ve never read him in the original Swedish.

          1. Swedish eh? That maybe explains some of the violent repetitive mass cornholes events in Wisconsin.


      2. Perez Hilton?

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