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Old 08-16-2007, 10:46 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Essonne, France
Posts: 29

Originally Posted by Michael Rowley View Post
There has been a change in attitudes even in some of those coutries too; for instance, in Germany and France it is no longer customary to address grown women of any age as 'Fraülein' and 'Mademoiselle':...But they never break grammatical rules. I read somewhere about a Frenchwoman, 'un Ministre' in the government, who demanded to be known as 'Madame, la Ministre' (ministre is masculine), but apparently that didn't go down at all well with her civil servants.
There was quite a to-do in France for a couple weeks about whether or not female ministers should be refered to as 'Madame, la ministère' - but ultimately they just dumped the ministers, which eliminated the problem. (The French always did prefer "indirect" solutions to these things.) Haven't heard anything about titles in the new Sarkozy government, so apparently it's back to Madame le ministre.

I'm in the thick of that particular issue at the moment with the association bulletin I edit. One of my team members is quite insistent about referring to association members as "adhérent(e)s" and writing out "animatrices et animateurs" whenever we refer to activity leaders, whereas Monsieur le Président (of the association) insists on the grammatically correct use of masculine for the collective form (and under French law, it is the president of the association who is assumed to be the editor of any and all publications).

I've had my volunteer proofreaders argue passionately over arcane differences in interpretation of grammatical rules - all the while missing blatent typos, unmatched parenthesis and spelling mistakes I caught thanks to the French spell checker in OpenOffice. Ah, the contradictory nature of the French soul!
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