Online training for everyone: Inclusive Writing 101

Inclusive writing is a goal for anyone who wants to fairly represent all the people who make up society in their diversity. But this new form of writing raises many questions. The University of Montreal wanted to provide answers by creating answers Included: inclusive writing training for everyone, Online training open to all (CLOT), better known by the English acronym MOOC (massive open online course).

“There is a lot of confusion about inclusive writing, especially in France, where it is generally associated with the center,” notes Monique Cormier, who until a few weeks ago was deputy vice-rector for French Language and Francophonie and director of the Office for Promotion the French language and Francophonie at the UdeM.

Here it refers to a masculine noun to which a midpoint and a feminine ending are added. “The midpoint is a graphic symbol that is missing from French spelling and grammar,” she explains. It is not on the line but in the middle and is also missing on the French keyboard. Therefore, it is replaced by the period, which causes as much difficulty in reading as difficulty in pronunciation. French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has also banned its use in teaching and school administration.”

But the controversy has left its mark as far away as Quebec. “We don’t want the center either,” assures Monique Cormier, who is also a full professor in the university’s Department of Linguistics and Translation. It is entirely possible to write inclusively while respecting the rules of grammar, spelling and typography.”

Check your choice of words

The central principle of the free 50-minute online training is to make your texts inclusive from the start without losing clarity. “For example, instead of talking about it Teacher, we can talk about it teaching staff or Faculty, points to MMe Cormier. We must remember to choose epicene words that do not indicate gender. It is certain that the introduction of inclusive writing is not a given. This requires a certain amount of mental gymnastics.”

If we want to use the word Teacher or if the context requires it, we therefore recommend the use of duplicates Professors. “Some will say it is longer, but language adapts as society evolves, and with all the variety of processes available, others are even shorter,” says MMe Cormier.

This training, which follows the recommendations of the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) regarding epicene writing, aims to help people cope with this change.

“Training won’t solve everything,” says M.Me Cormier, but it's a very good start to getting used to engaging with inclusive writing on a daily basis. It is also accessible to the entire French-speaking world and, in my opinion, is of great interest since certain countries do not have these resources.

In response to certain groups for whom the training does not go far enough, Monique Cormier says that several organizations turn to UdeM for training in the field of inclusive writing, precisely because the approach is moderate.

“We want our tools to be accessible and take into account the concerns of the majority of people, getting them to use French in a coherent, balanced way, with better representation and in an equitable way,” mentions Monique Cormier, who elsewhere Many Europeans were surprised to receive his professional card on which he was registered in the 1980s professor while on the other side of the Atlantic there has been virtually no feminization of titles.

Multiple tools available

For several years, UdeM has received many inquiries about inclusive writing. In order to be in line with UdeM's policy on equity, diversity and inclusion, the Office for the Promotion of the French Language and the Francophonie published a publication in 2019 Included: writing guide for everyone. The aim was to help the university's staff and its student community apply the principles of this form of writing orally and in writing. This guide ultimately sparked an explosion in demand for internal and external training.

“We didn’t have the resources to respond to this, and so the idea of ​​creating a CLOT came about,” says Monique Cormier. We designed it with financial support from OQLF; It also includes a cheat sheet for you to use after the training, a glossary, and a list of personal names.”

The online publication of this CLOT represents a journey for Monique Cormier, who has just left her roles as Deputy Vice-Rector for the French Language and Francophonie and Director of the Office for the Promotion of the French Language and Francophonie.

“I am first and foremost a professor and after 13 years of investing in the administration of the university, I have been called back to research,” she announces enthusiastically. Because of time constraints, I have neglected research in recent years.”

This dictionary specialist would like to delve deeply into the work of Abel Boyer The Royal Dictionary. In two pieces. First French and English. Secondly, English and French.

“I have already worked a lot on this volume and would like to summarize my discoveries and analyses,” explains Monique Cormier, who owns several editions of this dictionary, including the first from 1699. I would also like to take the time to focus on certain gray areas in history to undertake this work, which I have not yet been able to study and which I would like to shed light on.

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