Nous sommes professeurs

AndreaB1Kwiziq community member

Nous sommes professeurs

In a very recent quiz, the possible people the above statement referred to were a) two males b) a male and female c) two females. I got it wrong as I did not click on option c). As Chris mentioned (below) if there is a trend to gender this noun, should  "professeure/s" be used or mentioned as an alternative?  ( It did appear in Google translate)

Asked 3 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Andrea, 

I have checked the Kwiz in question and in fact, all of the two people combination is accepted as correct -

two males, one male and one female, and two females.

A little point which I have noticed, and which might interest you, is that in France when there is a female job equivalent, its use is preferred by women rather than the male form in the UK.

e.g.

Most French actresses will say: 

Je suis (une) actrice de cinéma / Je suis comédienne

whereas 

English actresses prefer to say :

I am an actor  

in order to be taken more seriously?

I am always puzzled by that!

 

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Andrea, even with “professeures” in use, it remains correct that “professeurs” refers to an all male, mixed or all female group of teachers, while “professeures” indicates an all female group only.

For historical reasons also, it will remain necessary to know that is possible, because of all the extant writings that will not be changed.

The statements of profession in English would also not identify gender -  “We are teachers”, “I am a teacher”.  In professions where it could previously be discerned in English, the use of gender distinguishing language has largely ceased. 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

...and in German, where professions do have separate male and female versions, one wrestles with the demands of being gender inclusive by inventing illegible hermaphrodites.

MarkB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hi Maarten.. not sure quite what you mean here.. at first sight, appears to contradict itself.

professeurs” refers to an all male, mixed or all female group of teachers, while “professeures” indicates an all female group.
MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Mark - professeurs is the only plural word for teachers recognised by the Académie-Française as “correct”. It is the traditional term.

Professeures is a neologism, coming into use but not yet officially recognised. When used it only applies to a group of female teachers. 

No contradiction - the “traditional” term - professeurs - remains correct and applies to all groups - all male, mixed, or all female. There is a newer term - professeures- coming into use in some quarters but it has restricted meaning and only applies to female teachers. The newer term has not displaced the “traditional “ word. 

(Have added “only” in the original post too - hopefully a bit clearer)

Nous sommes professeurs

In a very recent quiz, the possible people the above statement referred to were a) two males b) a male and female c) two females. I got it wrong as I did not click on option c). As Chris mentioned (below) if there is a trend to gender this noun, should  "professeure/s" be used or mentioned as an alternative?  ( It did appear in Google translate)

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