LINGUIST List 2.481

Mon 09 Sep 1991

Disc: French, in case

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  1. , Just In Case /2-480
  2. "MICHEL, ProfesseurE
  3. bert peeters, Job descriptions in French

Message 1: Just In Case /2-480

Date: 7 Sep 91 12:47 EST
From: <>
Subject: Just In Case /2-480
Dana Scott's posting probably makes this one superfluous, but I
remember clearly that "just in case" ( = 'iff') was common parlance in
the Harvard Philosophy Department when I was a grad student there in
1960/61, which probably puts its origin a little too early to credit
to Dummett. I never thought much about it, because they talked funny
in lots of other ways too.
Paul Chapin
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Message 2: ProfesseurE

Date: Tue, 3 Sep 1991 12:00 EDT
Subject: ProfesseurE
Yes, Quebec is more concerned with fairness in titles than France is. This
is a most interesting sociolinguistic phenomenon since it shows that
culture as much as language is at issue. The French still argue that
titles cannot be changed -- while the Quebecers have long since done it.
Just read the job section of a Quebec newspaper like LA PRESSE to see the
many different solutions to the definitely difficult issue of gender and
sex in French.
For scholarly and semi-scholarly references on this topic see:
Andre Martin & Henriette Dupuis
	La feminisation des titres et les leaders d'opinion...
	Gouvernement du Quebec, 1985
Office de la langue francaise
	Titres et fonctions au feminin: essai d'orientation de l'usage
	Gouvernement du Quebec, 1986
"Titres et fonctions au feminin"
	[journal entitled] La francisation en marche, vol. 5, no. 5
	October 1986
[Office de la langue francaise, 800 place Victoria, Montreal H4Z 1G8]
I need hardly point out that French newspapers all call French Prime
Minister Edith Cresson, "Madame LE ministre".
Michel Grimaud
P.S. I'm French, not from Quebec... so this message is _not_ pro domo...
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Message 3: Job descriptions in French

Date: Sun, 8 Sep 91 9:38:35 EST
From: bert peeters <>
Subject: Job descriptions in French
> Even Grevisse (of _Bon Usage_ fame - THE
> prescriptive Bible of French) wrote a couple of short papers which
> appear in his _Proble`mes de langage_ in the 1950s about such
> matters - he points out, for example, that la me`decine cannot be a female
> physician since it is the name of the discipline and may even
> consider le/la professeur somewhere in there.
> Margaret Winters
> Southern Illinois University
I haven't checked the _Proble`mes de langage_ (5 volumes published between
1960 and 1970) but if Grevisse really argues that _une me'decine_ cannot be
a female physician since it is the name of the discipline, then (very
uncharacteristically) he is wrong. It is like saying that in English
_stop to do sth_ cannot mean the same thing as _stop doing sth_ because
it already means _stop IN ORDER TO do sth_ (on this particular example,
see Anna Wierzbicka, _The semantics of grammar_, Amsterdam: Benjamins. 1988
(chapter 1; AW refutes the above argument which had been put forward by
R.M.W. Dixon). In French, the word _cafetie`re_ can be used for a female
_cafetier_ (cafe'-owner), although it usually means 'coffeepot'.
About the professeur/professeure case, I wrote in an earlier contribution:
> I'm not really sure how recent this tendency is. It
> was already well established when I spent a fortnight at Laval in 1983 (at
> least one paper presented at the conference which I attended actually dealt
> with these new "Canadian feminines").
Patrick Drouin, on the other hand, observed:
> The word "professeure" has been used here in Que'bec for about 5 ou 6 years.
Unfortunately, I discarded the hand-out distributed by Annette Paquot and
Henriette Dupuis before the oral presentation of their paper at the Laval
conference referred to (reference below), but I'm quite sure that the handout
covered far more data (including the professeur/professeure case) than are
included in the text printed in the conference proceedings. The latter
doesn't mention a new feminine for the word _professeur_, but the discussion
reveals that something in that area must have been said.
Paquot, Annette and Dupuis, Henriette. 1984. "Aperc,u fonctionnaliste sur
l'innovation lexicale dans le domaine du fe'minin des noms de profession".
S.I.L.F. Actes du 10e Colloque (Pierre Martin, ed.). Quebec: Universite' Laval.
Pp. 108-111.
The discussion (pp. 131-136) includes a question referring to _femme
professeur_ vs _professeur-femme_.
Patrick Drouin again:
> The job offer I posted was transmitted to me from the De'partement de langues
> et linguistique so I believe that they must use a terminology which is widely
> accepted on campus. I know that the SPUL (the prof's union here at Laval) also
> uses the combination "professeur/e" in its documents.
I would imagine that the language used in tertiary job ads and in union docum-
ents is kind of official (at least in Quebec).
Dr Bert Peeters Tel: +61 02 202344
Department of Modern Languages 002 202344
University of Tasmania at Hobart Fax: 002 202186
GPO Box 252C
Hobart TAS 7001
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