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  • Topic

    Pronunciation "solterxs"


    AOC just tweeted the following:

    Y por cierto, tenemos permiso d estar enojados sobre el uso d perfiles raciales. Tenemos permiso d estar enojados sobre el acoso sexual. O sobre los grandes bancos cometiendo fraude en contra d padres y madres solterxs.

    If you read that to someone, how would you pronounce that last word?

    Similarly, "latinxs"?

    Author Martin--cal (272273) 21 Feb 20, 17:20
    Can I just say that anything with X is a lot uglier than the natural form of the word? Hopefully AOC, bless her shortsighted little revolutionary heart, is not yet determining anyone else's Spanish usage. That little lady needs a big dose of humility, and fast.

    In forums I've occasionally seen shortcuts like 'Latin@s' or 'solter@s.' That seems a lot less dehumanizing than turning an entire group of human beings into an ugly, unpronounceable, mathematical X.

    That is, I have no idea how to answer your question. The contrarian spelling seems to defy any normal pronunciation.

    And for heaven's sake, why is she too lazy to type the two letters 'D E'?! How feeble and illiterate can you get?

    Pete Buttigieg has obviously not spent enough time with the language to encounter stem-changing verbs. 'Yo ofrece [sic],' o-kay ... But his delivery is fluent and his accent is really pretty good, considering. I hope some Latin@s in Nevada will vote for him.

    #1Author hm -- us (236141)  22 Feb 20, 12:41

    I wonder ... why not use any other vowel ... like an -i- or -e- ... to keep the words pronounceable ?

    #2Author no me bré (700807) 22 Feb 20, 13:02

    No hay una forma de pronunciar eso, Martin; sólo vale para la escritura. La tendencia del lenguaje inclusivo, al menos en Argentina, es utilizar la e como plural no binario: todes, qué hermoses, solteres, etc. En lo particular, a mí no me gusta, prefiero alternar entre masculino y femenino genéricos, aunque soy consciente de no incluir en esto a las personas no binarias. Que me perdonen. En todo caso, de adoptar una forma no binaria, prefiero la i, que tiene mejores pergaminos: es la forma propia del latin, y del italiano; por otra parte, en uso pronominal, evita la caída en un leísmo y consecuente pérdida de expresividad del lenguaje: les llevo vs. los/las llevo (acusativo, lis llevo en mi propuesta).

    #3Author Doktor Faustus (397365)  22 Feb 20, 16:32

    @ hm--us, "d" instead of "de" most likely to help avoid running over Twitter's message length threshold.

    And the suggestion of nomebré, "solteris; latinis" certainly has the advantage of being pronounceable (largely compensating for the disadvantage of weirdness of appearance and sound.) I rather doubt that the gender-inclusive "I" will gain much traction, though. But languages change; even self-consciously introduced reforms, as the use in English of gender-neutral nouns for professions (e.g. mail carrier, flight attendant, etc.)

    And a question for you, Dr. Faustus: just how widespread is the use of the gender-inclusive "E" (todes, qué hermoses, solteres) in the Spanish you hear every day?

    PS - On re-reading AOC's tweet, I now wonder why she didn't write "Y por cierto, tenemos permiso de estar enojadxs sobre el uso de perfiles raciales." Gender-inclusivity would certainly seem to require that nicety as well.

    PPS - Further postscript on the same subject. In a tweet today, AOC wrote, "Y la próxima vez, pregúntate porque las comunidades Latinx son frecuentemente tratadas como desechables en Washington."

    Shouldn't that be "las comunidades Latinas"? (I'm clearly missing something about the grammar for gender-neutrality in modern Spanish.)

    #4Author Martin--cal (272273)  22 Feb 20, 18:27

    A new example, not from Representative Ocasio Cortez, but from an email I just received: "Nos daría mucho gusto si tú o tú junto con alguien de tus compañerxs tuvieran interés en platicar ..."

    How would someone phrase this request orally, if it were felt important to preserve the gender neutrality?


    Compañeros o compañeras?


    #5Author Martin--cal (272273)  24 Feb 20, 21:07

    AOC rises to a new level of unpronouncibility with today's tweet:

    "Lxs miembrxs Demócratas Y Republicanxs forman parte de esta horrible conducta. "

    (but why not Demócratxs?)

    Edit: does anybody ever say "las miembras", if all the members are women?

    #6Author Martin--cal (272273)  09 May 20, 19:03
    Hola, Martín, ¿quiubo? (-:

    I think it's just because 'demócrata' is already invariable. Like all words for rulers ending in '-crata,' it's of Greek origin and thus is not feminine just because it happens to end in -a. The same is also true of all words for people ending in '-ista,' though I'm not sure about its etymology. So

    el/la demócrata, autócrata, etc., el/la activista, partidista, feminista, etc.

    There's another separate group of Greek-origin words that are simply masculine even though they end in -a.

    el problema, el mapa, el idioma, el programa, el clima, el planeta, el drama, el poema, el cometa, el tema ...

    We could actually make a thread and collect a list.

    One source I saw pointed out that the nouns in this group were neuter in Greek, but since Spanish only has two genders, they became masculine. Maybe someone who actually studied Greek could confirm that.

    Back to AOC: I'm not sure her Spanish is A+ level, though it's generally good. I believe 'miembro' is simply invariable as well: el/la miembro. So if there were a group whose members were all women, it could indeed be las miembros.

    That said, usage in this area is changing a lot, with feminists wanting visibly feminine words to designate women. So where traditional usage would have been invariable,

    el/la piloto, el/la idiota, el/la presidente, el/la médico

    there are now new feminine forms like 'la presidenta' and indeed 'la miembra,' which as far as I can tell tend to be defended strongly by some, er, assertively progressive women, but resisted on aesthetic grounds by many language traditionalists, including many who are otherwise open to progressive and feminist ideas. (That is, much like the arguments for and against the binnen-i in German.)

    #7Author hm -- us (236141)  12 May 20, 00:51

    Thanks, hm--us, for that pointer about "demócrata". I knew that nouns derived from Greek, but ending in -a, were masculine as a rule, but do not remember encountering an adjective derived from such a noun. But -- confirming your statement -- I see that there is an es.Wikipedia article titled "El partido Demócrata".

    #8Author Martin--cal (272273) 20 May 20, 08:17

    Hola otra vez, seres human_s y otr_s. (-;

    (You know, I could actually live with 'humanes y otres.' I wonder if that would drive Spanish speakers crazy ... like turning Spanish into Catalan or something. Hmm ...)

    I thought of this thread when I happened across this article buried in the World section on the NYT website, like so many other good articles that never even seem to make an appearance on their main homepage. I don't know where in the paper it even originally ran, if at all, but at least someone thought to translate it into Spanish, which is where I spotted it in passing.

    The more I hear about this, especially from people in a university setting where students now seem to insist on it, the point of the X seems to be to include those who reject both male and female, who want a completely non-binary option in language. I still find it awkward and inelegant, but then I suppose it's hard to understand that perspective if you're not one of those people.

    If anyone wants the Spanish version, I might be able to copy it, I'm not sure.


    How Language Classes Are Moving Past the Gender Binary

    Languages that contain only “he” and “she” pronouns pose problems for communicating about gender identity. Here’s how some language teachers are helping. ...

    Tal Janner-Klausner teaches Hebrew. There is nothing unusual about that, but the language presents a frustration that Mx. Janner-Klausner, who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns in English, feels compelled to discuss with their students.

    Hebrew, as well as French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and other languages, uses binary pronouns, which means that gender identities outside of he/she and male/female don’t exist in any formal capacity.

    In Hebrew, even the word “they” is gendered. In French, “ils” refers to a group of men or a mixed-gender group, and “elles” refers to a group of all females. All nouns in gendered languages — including people — are categorized as either masculine or feminine, and any adjectives associated with these words must reflect that gender.

    That presents a problem for students who are gender-nonconforming, and, of course, for the speakers of the language in general. Is it possible for learners of a gendered language to refer to themselves and others when their identities are not represented?

    In order to get around it, Mx. Janner-Klausner, who teaches in Jerusalem, asks their students to refer to them using male and female pronouns interchangeably. “As well as wanting to feel comfortable myself, I do this so that they can be informed about genders outside of the binary,” they said. ...

    As societies that speak gendered languages have become more open to nonconforming identities, native speakers have crafted mechanisms for removing or avoiding the gendered element of words.

    But these adaptations are seldom part of the official syllabuses for those who are learning a second language. Even where the understanding of gender identity is quickly evolving in native-speaking populations, language learning lags. This presents a unique challenge for teachers and students who embrace traditional grammar but want to reflect these changing values. ...

    English is not unique in the singular use of “they/them,” but many Romance languages, along with Hindi, Arabic and Hebrew, use gender as the basis of their nouns.

    One norm that can frustrate language learners and speakers is the dominance of the masculine form, which is used as the default or standard. For example, the masculine “todos,” meaning “everybody,” is used in Spanish to address a group of people regardless of their genders at events like conferences or in official speeches. And the presence of even one man in an otherwise female group tends to consign the gender to the masculine.

    Louis Moffa, who is nonbinary and uses “he” and “they” pronouns, is a teaching fellow in the Department of Italian at Columbia University. Italian is a gendered language with no equivalent to the English singular usage of they/them.

    “I didn’t think much about my own gender identity until I began thinking and expressing myself in Italian,” Mx. Moffa said. “When I thought about how much more complex reality is than just an array of binaries, I realized that my own identity and self-expression could never really reside within those confines. It was actually by learning Italian that my understanding of gender was freed from the nature of binary thought altogether.”

    Mx. Moffa believes that the first step to overcoming gender binaries in Italian is to openly discuss how they appear in the language. “Being able to teach the gendered nature of Italian grammar has given me the opportunity to be more fully seen and understood by my students, because gender can never remain implicit or unquestioned in our classroom,” he said.

    In addition to breaking open Italian’s limits on human beings, Mx. Moffa highlights the “absurd” nature of assigning gender to inanimate objects. “Instead of calling it masculine and feminine, you can just pick other polarities: light and dark, full and empty, round and square. It doesn’t even really matter what it is,” he said.

    Kris Knisely, an assistant professor of French at the University of Arizona, gets even more specific. At the start of the semester, he introduces students to a number of linguistic developments used by native French nonbinary speakers. For example, the forms of the plural “they” — “ils” and “elles” — are combined to create a new word: “iels.” Similarly, to refer to “them,” the masculine “eux”and the feminine “elles” become “elleux.”

    He has found that teaching these new forms has a profound impact on his nonbinary and L.G.T.B.Q. students: Some who had been on the verge of dropping French subsequently declared it their major.

    “I’ve had students tell me that this is the first time they’ve felt like there’s a way for them to become an actual French speaker,” he said. “They can see that there’s space for them in this language,” Dr. Knisely said.

    He is keen to make sure this learning extends to cisgender students — those whose gender identity matches their sex as assigned at birth. “If cis students are allowed to continue to believe that cis people are always the default, or that only cis people matter, that does a great disservice to all students, because they’re not prepared for the world as it actually is,” he said.

    This approach is not widespread in language teaching. Agnes M., who chose to use an initial because they are a minor, is a gender-fluid high school student who attends an all-girls school in London. Though they use a mix of pronouns for themselves in English, in their Spanish class they must adhere to the female gender. ...

    According to some teachers, language learning provides fertile ground for discussing the concept of gender both within and outside the language. As Mx. Janner-Klausner summarizes, it’s not just the gender binary that can be reconfigured through study.

    “Language learning is the breaking down of a binary: You started off with a binary of familiar and foreign, and then you break it down,” they said. “What was foreign becomes familiar as you learn the language.”

    Leer en español

    #9Author hm -- us (236141)  03 Sep 21, 03:38

    Interesting contribution, thank you!

    #10Author María (LEO-Team) (1220074) 13 Sep 21, 07:28
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