Pardon Your French

After two months of unruly protests, a new specter haunts France: assaults on its beloved langue française. Not from encroaching English this time, but rather from changing French sensibilities.

Last week, the daily Libération carried an editorial by feminist Emmanuèle Peyret that lashed out at the title mademoiselle. Derived from a medieval identifier of age and social standing that applied to both sexes, mademoiselle today, she argues, is a signal to men that a younger woman is either unwed — and thus "pick-upable and bedable" — or an "old maid who obviously hasn't seen any action since 1963."...

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