A decade ago, the surprise (and the indignation in many cases) was caused by the unfolding (“welcome and welcome”), which today is almost totally assumed. Also the use of the feminine gender (“the deputies of Parliament”, in reference to the entire chamber) has become entrenched in some areas. Those who defend these uses consider them more inclusive forms of language .
Ártemis López presents himself not as a doctoral student or a doctoral candidate but as a “doctoral candidate” in Linguistics from the University of Vigo. During the conversation for this article, the journalist’s clumsy attempts to use the non-binary gender cause female and male to sneak everywhere. “Nothing happens, it takes practice,” López reassures. It’s different when people try it than when they don’t do it the wrong way.
Bilingual in Spanish and English, she is dedicated to translation and interpretation, especially of texts from queer, trans and non-binary communities. In his Twitter account he has deployed a practical thread on the use of new pronouns and other non-binary linguistic resources in English, Spanish, Galician / Portuguese, Italian and French.
” I do not believe that language is neither sexist nor non-sexist, people and societies are,” he says. There are non-binary people who use the e because that is their grammatical gender and not respecting it is an act of sexism and transmisogyny ”.
A slip of the English
In English, which is not gender concordant, the pronoun they (which in language schools is taught only as equivalent to ‘they’) is widely used to refer to a non-binary person.
The they / them as singular neutral is documented since the fourteenth century , but until 2019 was not included in reference dictionaries with this meaning. In addition, neo-pronouns such as ze / hir have also been created , as an alternative to he / she.
In languages, such as Spanish and Catalan, in which gender is part of the grammatical DNA, it has been decided to replace the masculine and feminine endings with the at , the asterisk or the x, which are not considered discriminatory but neither do they make visible non-binary experience. Neo-pronouns are also used , with varying success. This is the case of ille / iel in French, sier / xier in German or hen in Swedish. In Italian it is debated to adopt the inverted e as a neutral ending.
The most recent controversy about language and gender in Catalonia was carried out by the ‘councilor’ of Igualtat i Feminismes, Tània Verge, who in a Pride Day act used the pronoun ‘totis’ instead of ‘totes, tots or tothom’ . Outside of the groups directly questioned, this use was once again a reason for pitorreo . But beyond the mockery and insults on Twitter, there are those who oppose this practice with linguistic arguments.
Linguist Carme Junyent is one of the few academics who raises harsh criticism without fear of what they will say. His next book is entitled ‘Som dones, som linguistes, som moltes i ja en tenim prou’.
Consulted on the controversy of the totis , its extensive explanation can be summarized in six points:
1) “That an individual believes that a grammar can be invented indicates arrogance and ignorance of how languages work.”
2) “When changes are imposed from power they lead nowhere.”
3) «Changing the language does not change reality : in most languages there is nothing similar to gender and machismo is universal. In the 70s there was a debate and the name of the Barcelona School of Engineering was changed to Escola d’Enginyers. And how many female engineers are there? It is as if to end private property it was decided to eliminate possessives “.