Online Education

Massive Open Online Training: Inclusive Writing 101

Inclusive writing is a goal for anyone who wants to fairly represent all the people who, in their diversity, make up society. However, this new form of writing raises many questions. The University of Montreal wanted to provide answers through creation Inclusive: inclusive writing training for all, online training open to all (CLOT), better known under the English abbreviation MOOC (massive open online racing).

“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 vice-rector associated with the French language and Francophonie and director of the Office for the Promotion of the French Language and Francophonie at UdeM.

Here it refers to a masculine noun to which we add a middle and a feminine ending. “The midpoint is a graphic character that is missing from French spelling and grammar,” he explains. It is located not on a line but in the middle, it is also missing on the French keyboard, so people replace it with a dot, which causes as much reading problems as pronunciation problems. French Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer also banned its use in education and school administration.

However, the controversy also left its mark in Quebec. “We don’t want the middle either,” says Monique Cormier, who is also a full professor in the Department of Linguistics and Translation. It is quite possible to write in an inclusive way while respecting the rules of grammar, spelling and typography.

Check your choice of words

The big basic principle taught in the free 50-minute online training is to design your texts from the beginning in an inclusive style without losing clarity. “For example, instead of talking about it teachers, we can talk about teaching staff or faculty, denotes Mme Cormier. It is necessary to think about the choice of epicene words, which do not specify the genre. To be sure, embracing inclusive writing does not come naturally. It requires mental gymnastics.”

If we want to use the word teachers or if the context requires it, then we recommend using doublets, so-called professors and professors. “Some would say it’s longer, but the language adapts to changes in society, and in all the processes available, others are even shorter,” says Ms.me Cormier.

Following the recommendations of the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) on epicene writing, this training aims to lead people to develop towards this change.

“Training does not fix everything,” says M.me Cormier, but it’s a very good start to getting used to using inclusive writing on a daily basis. It is also accessible to the entire Francophonie and in my eyes there is a great interest in it because some countries do not have these resources.

To certain groups who find that the training does not go far enough, Monique Cormier responds that several organizations turn to UdeM for training in inclusive writing precisely because its approach is moderate.

“We want our tools to be accessible and to take into account the concerns of the majority of people by leading them to use French in a coherent, balanced way, with better representation and in a fair way,” recalls Monique Cormier, who has elsewhere surprised many Europeans in the 80 years with his professional card in which he was registered the teacher while the feminization of titles was virtually absent on the other side of the Atlantic.

Several tools available

UdeM has been receiving many requests for inclusive writing for several years. In line with the policy of equality, diversity and inclusion, UdeM published the Office for the Promotion of the French Language and Francophonie in 2019 Including: a writing guide for everyone. The aim was to help the university staff and its student community in using the principles of this form of writing in oral and written expression. This guide eventually led to an explosion of demand for internal and external training.

“We didn’t have the resources to respond to that, so the idea of ​​creating CLOT was born,” says Monique Cormier. We designed it with financial support from OQLF; it also contains a memory aid that you will have at hand after the training, a dictionary and a list of personal labels.”

The publication of this CLOT represents a pageant for Monique Cormier, who has just left her position as Associate Vice-Chancellor for French Language and Francophonie and Director of the Office for the Promotion of French Language and Francophonie.

“I am primarily a professor, and after 13 years of investing in university administration, I had a call to research again,” she declares with enthusiasm in her voice. Because due to lack of time I have neglected research in recent years.’

This dictionary specialist wants to immerse herself in the work of Abel Boyer Royal Dictionary. In two parts. First, French and English. Second, English and French.

“I have already worked a lot on this volume, and I would like to summarize my discoveries and my analyses,” specifies Monique Cormier, who owns several editions of this dictionary, including the first, which dates back to 1699. to focus on certain gray areas in the history of this book , which I haven’t been able to study yet and which I would like to pick up.

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