Le français non-binaire: Linguistic forms used by non-binary speakers of French

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28 Scopus citations


In response to shifting sociocultural constructions of gender and the emerging visibility of non-binary subject positions, grammatically binary linguistic systems, such as French, are being challenged, subverted, and adapted. This paper describes and analyzes formal, structural, and ideological aspects of how contemporary French speakers are confronting and innovating beyond the gender binary, highlighting the lack of scholarly attention and increase in public salience afforded to these issues. Survey data from 174 adult speakers of French are used to outline the forms used by non-binary Francophones, the degree of form variance, and the self-reported comprehensibility ratings of these forms. The findings establish consistent trends in the non-binary language forms used and their comprehensibility, while highlighting the importance of variance for individual agency in non-binary Francophone communities. These findings are foundational to a consideration of the of teaching non-binary forms in foreign language classrooms and curricula for inclusivity and competence development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)850-876
Number of pages27
JournalForeign Language Annals
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • French
  • LGBTQ+
  • linguistic innovation
  • non-binary
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language


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