Lexicographie historique, noms de métier, féminisation: quelle méthodologie?
AuthorBaider, Fabienne H.
PublisherInstitut Universitari de Linguistica Aplicada, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
SourceProceedings of the 13th EURALEX International Congress
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This article investigates the way trade names in the feminine form are presented in the French etymological and historical lexicographic discourse. Several French decrees in 1986, 1994 and 2000 were issued to promote use of the feminine form of trade names in reference to women. Working from two different corpuses-one before the feminization policy and one after, the analysis establishes whether progress had been made in such usage: feminine forms have increased in the past 30 years, even though their presentation remains incomplete and sometimes even marginal. However, the study of the presence or absence of these feminine forms could provide insight into what the linguistic function of gender is for various lexicographers. For some, a different gender and a different form of a trade name - ex. boulanger and boulangère - do not justify the inclusion of the feminine form, since they are derived morphologically and semantically from the masculine word, even though this case is not necessarily true. On the semantic level, this reasoning presupposes that grammatical gender does not fulfill any relevant function for nouns denoting animates. If it is impossible to conclude that these different lexicographical discursive practices support an asymmetrical representation of the sexes because of their different treatment of grammatical gender, it is nevertheless certain that such reasoning deprives all feminine forms from etymological information, hence truncating the history of words.