'Chiller', 'Go'...can these new words be used by students in their scripts?

As new terms enter the Petit Robert and Petit Larousse 2023 dictionaries, a question may arise: will students be able to use these words in their copies from now on? A literature teacher enlightens us.

"Chiller", "Go"... ces nouveaux mots peuvent-ils être utilisés par les élèves dans leurs copies ?

In their homework or in their French papers, students are often tempted to want to write in their own words. Those they use on a daily basis, to discuss and make themselves understood between lunches. The very ones that have a meaning that is sometimes unknown to parents. However, are they allowed to use them in school in a written French subject? This is a question that deserves to be asked, since dictionaries integrate new words every year, including expressions that young people use. A few days ago, the 2023 edition of Le Petit Robert unveiled its list of words which will complete the future pages of this reference dictionary. We will find there in particular 'go', 'gênance', 'lease' or even 'grazer' to designate a scammer who is rampant on the Internet. From street and generational language, these words are now standardized. But will this formalization be able to prevail over their use in class, or in homework? To answer this question, we interviewed Marie-Astrid Clair, associate professor of modern literature, in a college in a priority education zone and at the INSPÉ to train young primary and secondary school teachers.

Can students use these new words in their papers?

' It is not recommended! Because we expect students, especially when you are a French teacher, to build a language that is the language of school. School language is not everyday language, nor that of the playground. They must therefore manage to change their level of language in their copies', explains the teacher. Nevertheless, Marie-Astrid Clair insists on one point: 'I think these expressions are good French, as long as they are understood by French people or French-speaking people. It is a mistake to say that they are not 'good French'. The language evolves depending on time and place. We don't speak the same French in Quebec as in Senegal, and even in Gers and Lorraine.' She sees with a very good eye the use of these new codes in the language of the younger generations . 'I am delighted to see the word 'go' enter the dictionary. It comes from Côte d'Ivoire, from Nouchi slang more precisely, and designates a young girl. It is found in wonderful books which are completely recommendable, like Aya de Youpougong by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie. It shows that French is a living language, which evolves, with which one can have fun and create', says the teacher.

Can teachers penalize them?

'The difficulty is that the word may not be suitable for what is called the enunciation situation, that is to say that it is not the right language for the right person at the right time. The idea is that they have to adapt their language to the statement and the context given in the instructions. Sometimes the students do not know that such and such a word is familiar. In this case, the teacher corrects them by indicating On the other hand, some people sometimes use swear words out of provocation: it is then necessary to explain to them that by using them without precaution they are ostracizing themselves from society, because they do not use the social norm. linguistic expectation.'

Is it difficult for a student to move from one language register to another?

'It depends on the students. Some have a much greater richness of vocabulary than others. The school's job is to try to reduce these differences. But it is true that it is less obvious for some children . Inequalities exist and indicators show it', emphasizes the teacher. Indeed, it is proven, certain socio-economic inequalities can have an impact on the acquisition of language in young children. In priority education, for example, some children have only 500 words in CP while they reach 2,500 words in more privileged backgrounds, outside priority education , indicates the site of the Academy of Paris. Researchers from Insee and Ined have also shown in a study , made using data from Elf in 2019, that 'the vocabulary of children cared for in a crèche or by a childminder is more diversified than when they are cared for by their parents or grandparents.'

Can less classical texts be studied?

'Teachers have the freedom to work on different types of texts. It is quite possible to study a rap text to see, for example, the effects of rhythm and sound. And it is not absurd to use for a while current practices. On the other hand, these texts must not violate the values ​​of the school, insists the expert.

Thanks to Marie-Astrid Clair for answering our questions. Professor of letters, she also shares on her channel Youtube 'Le français c'est clair' tips and methods for better success in French.Source journaldesfemmes.fr