Volume 3, Issue 3  December 2020, pp. 183–195          Download PDF

Regular Articles
Gender-inclusivity and gender-neutrality in foreign language teaching: The case of French

Hugues Peters https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2111-30421

1 UNSW Sydney, Australia h.peters@unsw.edu.au

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/ajal.v3n3.332


This is a secondary research discussion paper on the issue of non-conforming gender-inclusivity or neutrality in foreign language teaching of gender-based languages. Australian universities welcome increasingly diverse populations of students. One source of diversity among the student population is characterised by the notion of gendered identities, and especially the affirmation of the rights of LGBTQIA+ communities. Universities aim to show equal respect to all gendered identities. It entails using the language that is most respectful to refer to people in a non-sexist, gender-neutral, or gender-inclusive manner, and to allow students to use the language they are most comfortable with. The demands for gender-inclusive and/or gender-neutral language brings some new challenges with respect to the teaching of gender-based foreign languages. In this article, I delineate these challenges with regards to the teaching of French as a foreign language. There is a growing body of literature on ESL Queer teaching, but a paucity of information about this issue in the foreign language teaching of gender-based languages. Even the best-intentioned teacher can therefore feel insecure because of the lack of information. I specifically review strategies on how to deal with the introduction of gender-inclusive and gender-neutral modes of expression in foreign language teaching, dealing with so-called inclusive writing and the neo-morphemes that have been proposed, and examine how language teachers can raise awareness among their student population about LGBTQIA+ issues.

Received 9 July, 2020
Accepted 2 October, 2020
Published 28 December, 2020


© Hugues Peters

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Suggested citation

Peters, H. (2020). Gender-inclusivity and gender-neutrality in foreign language teaching: The case of French. Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 3(3), 183–195. https://doi.org/10.29140/ajal.v3n3.332

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