16 votes

A showdown is looming between Spain’s conservative language academy and its newly elected socialist government over proposals to rewrite the nation’s constitution using gender-neutral language

5 comments

  1. Spel
    Link
    It’s going to be interesting what comes out of this whole thing. I find it to be quite a intriguing situation, since I’m fairly convinced that had the situation been the reverse (i.e that the...

    It’s going to be interesting what comes out of this whole thing. I find it to be quite a intriguing situation, since I’m fairly convinced that had the situation been the reverse (i.e that the feminine was the general purpose word, but there was a specific way to refer to only men) that would have been equally unacceptable for the same people who dislike the current situation. In other, it could just as well have been positive to have your very own noun form and problematic not to.

    Always having to use both noun forms seems clumsy though. In legal texts perhaps it will work, but I can’t imagine that it’ll establish itself in normal speech. Using them randomly doesn’t really seem workable either.

    5 votes
  2. HoolaBoola
    Link
    I was hoping that the gender-neutral language would involve explicitly gender-neutral pronouns etc, but I guess with a language as heavily gendered as Spanish it would be pretty hard. What I was...

    I was hoping that the gender-neutral language would involve explicitly gender-neutral pronouns etc, but I guess with a language as heavily gendered as Spanish it would be pretty hard. What I was thinking was similar to "hen" in Swedish that apparently has become quite common instead of the traditional "han" and "hon".

    5 votes
  3. [3]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Languages such as Spanish and Portuguese (my native language) are so gendered that changes like that are far from trivial. Here are some things that are gendered in Portuguese (and Spanish is very...

    Languages such as Spanish and Portuguese (my native language) are so gendered that changes like that are far from trivial. Here are some things that are gendered in Portuguese (and Spanish is very similar):

    • chairs
    • stools
    • buses
    • cars
    • pencils
    • ovens

    Our entire grammars revolve around gender, so a switch to gender neutral requires a profound change in the idiom. I'm not saying this shouldn't be done, but this will take a lot more work than speakers of less gendered languages might realize.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      Moonchild
      Link Parent
      Yep. It's the same in hebrew, except even worse: all verbs have to make gender agreement too.

      Yep. It's the same in hebrew, except even worse: all verbs have to make gender agreement too.

      3 votes
      1. mrbig
        Link Parent
        That is interesting. I support making languages gender neutral, but for some it will take a lot more work. And, even if we manage to do so, new generations might lose the ability to understand...

        That is interesting.

        I support making languages gender neutral, but for some it will take a lot more work. And, even if we manage to do so, new generations might lose the ability to understand older texts. It's a complex proposition.

        2 votes