In the lesson about occupations, there were some pictures showing both male and female teachers. The caption was "le professeur". However, later the following sentence was introduced: "La professeur française aime parler des crêpes."
I'm a bit confused now:
Can "le professeur" refer to both male and female teachers?
Is "la professeur" an alternative form that can also be used to talk about a female teacher?
What about "la professeure" - does this form exist as well?
Thank you very much for your help!
A comment about hugolemieux's mention that professeur/professeure is only for university. Actually, in France, professeur is used for all teachers teaching one specific discipline (as opposed to primary school teachers, although the latter have recently aimed at a social promotion by changing their previous title 'instituteur/institutrice' for 'professeur(e) des écoles'). Yes feminists insist on feminization of titles and jobs (re. auteur/auteure) whenever there is no official feminine word. But this can be tricky in instances like ambassadeur/ambassadrice if you consider that ususally the ambassadrice was the ambassadeur's wife. Same story with préfet/préfète. At last, in France 'enseignant/e' is used as the generic job of teaching. The debate might move forward when French speakers have found a proper name for midwives (une sage-femme - even if a man is doing it).
Interesting. In English (for all English speakers I think), it is considered more politically correct to use gender-neutral terms for professions, like actor (not actress) and author (not authoress). This is because the person's gender should not be considered relevant when referring to the profession. However, in French, as with other languages, it might make sense the other way around, as there is no way to make words "gender-neutral"!
In this context, "enfin" translates into English as "and finally,", not "at last". ;-)
So with that in mind agricultrice is not the feminine equivalent for agriculteur and means a farmer's wife while agriculteure is the feminine word?
So it means I've learned a wrong rule...
Une agricultrice is either a female farmer or a farmer's wife.
I have never seen "une agriculteure"
I had an argument with a french speaking friend of mine about this same thing the other day. I believe adding the E is OK in some places (like Quebec) but not others. It's one of those "exception to the rules" that us new to the language have to just learn to abide by!
As wuzizname said, there is no consensus on feminization of some words such as professions. In Québec, more words are feminized than in France. I can't really speak for France, since i'm from Québec, but "la professeure" is recommanded by the Office québecois de la langue française:
In fact, in Québec, if you say "le professeur", it is assumed that you are talking about a male professor, because for a female professor, "la professeure" is always used.
Keep in mind that professeur/professeure is technically only for university professor. The correct translation for "teacher" is "enseignant/enseignante".
But in a the less formal language, most of the time, professeur/professeure is used as a synonyme of enseignant/enseigante
If you have any question about such terms, visit this website : http://gdt.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/. There is a search button on the right ("rechercher"). The website is only in french though.
Worth noting that if France elected a female president, she would be "Madame le président" :P
Not sure, she can expect being called "Madame la Présidente".
By the way, there are plenty of "présidentes" in France (not 'of the Republic', but of various types of organisations), including the head of the main employers' federation.
Intriguingly, the Collins Dictionary on my computer gives "Madame le Président", but the Collins Dictionary on Word Reference provides "président(e)", so there's definitely some contradiction here. Certainly there is the Québcois/French divide as before – présidente definitely exists for the former – but if you say there are présidentes in France, I believe you. I'd be interested to see what native speakers have to say on the subject (after all, I first heard this from one) and also what Le Petit Robert has to say about it, if anyone has one lying around.
"La présidente" is used in France. I was unaware of the use of "la professeure" in Quebec. I taught in the French school system about ten years ago "le professeur" was used for all teachers regardless of gender at that time. But languages change and vary over time and geography, so I hesitate to say that what was true in that context in that moment of time applies to France's language patterns today.
In school, we learned that la professeure is used only in Canada. But we also learned that "la prof" and "le prof" can be used as well. But "le professeur" can refer to both male and female teachers.