pc gender eradication

risby

Member
British English
There has been a largely successful drive over the last couple of decades to promote non-sexist speech and to deprecate gender specific terms in English in the cause of feminism. Hence we now have firefighters instead of firemen, the chairperson instead of the chairman.

Learning French and Spanish recently, I wondered whether there had been any such influence in these languages where gender is a basic component of the grammar.
 
  • liulia

    Senior Member
    English/French
    It's all extremely complicated! My sister who is a Director in one of the European institutions is finding it difficult to adjust to her new title - "Madame le Directeur"!
     

    ben119

    Member
    France - French
    I agree with Liulia, since all the nouns have a gender in French, changing it in many cases makes them sound very strange...

    I'm not aware of any wide change in the language in general.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    In German it's generally not possible to have a single "non-sexist" term.

    Females in an occupation or profession have -in added. So if you are talking about a female teacher, you have to say Lehrerin.
    If your doctor is a woman, you say Ärztin, and so on.

    If talking about Germany's female PM, you have to say Kanzlerin. In German, Senator Hilary Clinton is called Senatorin Clinton, and so on. If Hilary gets to be the first female President of the US, she'll be Presidentin Clinton.
    Any reference in German to President Clinton or Sentor Clinton = Bill Clinton.

    When politicians get up and thank the voters, they have to say it twice:
    Mein Dank an alle Wählerinnen und Wähler.
    My thanks to all the [women] voters and [men] voters.


    Job advertisements, for example, have to write both the male and female forms: Lehrer/Lehrerinnen. Some combine Lehrer and Lehrerinnen into LehrerInnen - note the capital I - if you write Lehrerinnen, it means female teachers.
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    In German it's generally not possible to have a single "non-sexist" term.

    Females in an occupation or profession have -in added. So if you are talking about a female teacher, you have to say Lehrerin.
    If your doctor is a woman, you say Ärztin, and so on.

    If talking about Germany's female PM, you have to say Kanzlerin. In German, Senator Hilary Clinton is called Senatorin Clinton, and so on. If Hilary gets to be the first female President of the US, she'll be Presidentin Clinton.
    Any reference in German to President Clinton or Sentor Clinton = Bill Clinton.

    When politicians get up and thank the voters, they have to say it twice:
    Mein Dank an alle Wählerinnen und Wähler.
    My thanks to all the [women] voters and [men] voters.


    Job advertisements, for example, have to write both the male and female forms: Lehrer/Lehrerinnen. Some combine Lehrer and Lehrerinnen into LehrerInnen - note the capital I - if you write Lehrerinnen, it means female teachers.
    That IS the non-sexist way. It German it is considered sexist NOT to use the gender-related suffixes.

    I Denmark it is quite the opposite: There they have setteled for the masculine version except for a number of professions where they use the feminine form for both sexes. (Mainly the professions where women always were in the majority). That is their idea of non-sexist and politically correctness.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    My favourite gender-busting term in English is hisser, a combination of his and her (er, sorry), her and his, which unfortunately didn't catch on. Their serves this purpose quite well but has still not been approved by English grammarians. Many years ago when indicating sex became forbidden in job adverts, I recall how an enterprising London pub owner, when trying to recruit a new barmaid, cunningly circumvented the new regulation by advertising for, "an experienced bar-person with large boobs". He could have got a nasty surprise of course!
    Forms of address like Liebe Studentinnen und Studenten still sound rather ridiculous and superflous to me, probably as a minority of one, as does the insistence on the unnecessary neologism humankind that now pedantically replaces the once all-embracing mankind. (The synonymous German Menschheit was fortunately not suspected of sexual leanings). But I am very relieved at not having to bother about any of these niceties when speaking Spanish! Please note that despite what I have said I am all for sexual equality, and have gladly and obediently worked for several admirable female bosses.
     

    Etcetera

    Senior Member
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    In Russian, the category of gender is very important.
    There are several professions and posts (including 'director'), which are normally used in masculine. Not that there can't be a feminine form, but it would sound rather weird and sometimes just ridiculous. Such forms may be used, though, but in a pretty humorous way.
    But very few people really bother about it all. I, personally, don't give it a damn.:)
     

    Freston

    Member
    Netherlands, Dutch
    This thread reminds me of a funny thing I encountered. The English word secretary has both a female and a male form in Dutch:
    M. Secretaris
    F. Secretaresse

    But, now comes it. Both have distinct differences. A 'Secretaris' does different things than a 'Secretaresse'. You might compare this to the difference between a Steward and a Stewardess. So the title now no longer applies to the gender, but to the job description. It's possible for a woman to be 'Secretaris' and (far less common) for a man to be 'Secretaresse'.


    In job advertisements the usual form is the male form, followed by (m/v) to indicate both genders may apply.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    I am reminded of the nice distinction in German between Frau Doktor who has a doctorate and Frau Doktorin, who is only married to one.
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    This thread reminds me of a funny thing I encountered. The English word secretary has both a female and a male form in Dutch:
    M. Secretaris
    F. Secretaresse

    But, now comes it. Both have distinct differences. A 'Secretaris' does different things than a 'Secretaresse'. You might compare this to the difference between a Steward and a Stewardess. So the title now no longer applies to the gender, but to the job description. It's possible for a woman to be 'Secretaris' and (far less common) for a man to be 'Secretaresse'.


    In job advertisements the usual form is the male form, followed by (m/v) to indicate both genders may apply.
    But do you really use 'Secretaresse' for a man who does normal secretarial work - like it is done mainly, but not exclusively, by female secretaries?

    (You don't have to search long for a male secretary - I used to be one.)
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    That IS the non-sexist way. It German it is considered sexist NOT to use the gender-related suffixes.
    The German system of constantly reinforcing the person's sex in the job title is quite contrary to the efforts of feminists in the English language.

    The idea in English is to be inclusive, to de-sex the language, and get rid of all sex-specific terms. The idea being that if we don't have these naughty sexist words, we won't be able to think any naughty sexist thoughts.

    Think of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four. 'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?
    In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it
    ."

    Interestingly enough, Malays and Indonesians, whose language is beautifully non-sexist, manange to have quite definite ideas on the appropriate - and differing - roles of males and females.
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I'm always impressed by the fact that if you refer to a man as a person in French, he is une personne. The gender depends on the inherent gender of the noun (feminine, in this case), rather than that of the person wearing the title, and in this case at least, it works both ways.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Think of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four. 'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?
    In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it."

    The quotation from Orwell is most apt, Brioche, and it would appear that
    like myself, you are not entirely delighted with the mutilations the language of Shakespeare is suffering in the name of political correctness, originally a worthy cause, but now running amok and foaming at the mouth.
    How much are we to allow this linguistic crusade to "bowdlerize" the language to encroach on our freedom of speech? Sometimes these days, one remains speechless because one is no longer sure what one is currently permitted to say to express a particular idea. For instance, the word "gypsy" (once full of romance), like its German equivalent "Zigeuner" too, is taboo. I think the present acceptable English term is something like "rummy" - or is that an alcoholic and also banned? Because of their traumatic past - you can now, quite rightly, be thrown into clink for giving the Nazi salute or denying the holocaust - the Germans have sufficient reason to be over-cautious, but what is the excuse of the anglophones?
    Oldthinkers unbellyfeel Ingsoc.:(
     

    risby

    Member
    British English
    I'm always impressed by the fact that if you refer to a man as a person in French, he is une personne. The gender depends on the inherent gender of the noun (feminine, in this case), rather than that of the person wearing the title, and in this case at least, it works both ways.
    Yes, this is what interested me. What does it mean that "l'armée", for instance, is traditionally a male enclave and yet the noun is feminine?

    Do these examples undermine the feminist stance that sexism is embedded in language, suggesting that this idea arises from a parochial view of English, or does it just make it more of a complex problem for languages other than English?
     

    Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    In Russian, the category of gender is very important.
    There are several professions and posts (including 'director'), which are normally used in masculine. Not that there can't be a feminine form, but it would sound rather weird and sometimes just ridiculous. Such forms may be used, though, but in a pretty humorous way.
    But very few people really bother about it all. I, personally, don't give it a damn.:)
    This is the position of most French women (I can't say about other francophone countries). Words are just the appearence given to facts, not mere facts. We have so many major issues to cope with in our everyday life that we find useless to fiercely fight every masculine form of feminine things... we have more important things to think of. Furthermore, France isn't fond of polically correctness. We have a rather sarcastic sense of humour that prevents us to adopt the PC attitude, I'm afraid. :D

    I'm always impressed by the fact that if you refer to a man as a person in French, he is une personne. The gender depends on the inherent gender of the noun (feminine, in this case), rather than that of the person wearing the title, and in this case at least, it works both ways.
    Yes, this precisely explains why we don't care about this question of genders. They are just word genders, and have nothing to do with the reality of what they describe.
     

    liulia

    Senior Member
    English/French
    So in our European cultures - French, Russian, Italian - the grammatical quirks of our languages do not always say much about the day to day realities of life?
    This is how I have always felt, but I was told, back in the 70s in the US, that with a bit of consciousness raising I would soon understand that my attitude was merely resistance due to cultural brainwashing. :rolleyes:
    What I have noticed in fact is that changing language is a very superficial band-aid solution, and does little to change attitudes. But the debate around language has helped me over the years to understand, for example, ways in which women have felt stuck in particular roles because the language implied that that's where we belonged. Language does contribute to reinforce and confirm cultural assumptions, I suppose.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Do these examples undermine the feminist stance that sexism is embedded in language, suggesting that this idea arises from a parochial view of English, or does it just make it more of a complex problem for languages other than English? (risby)

    Grammatical gender usually has little to do with biological sex distinctions. Even in very macho Latin nauta (sailor) and agricola (farmer), both traditionally male occcupations, were both feminine nouns. In Rostand's play "L'Aiglon" whose protagonist is the ill-starred and captive Duc de Reichstadt, son of the Emperor Napoleon I, the former makes the grim joke "Je n'aime pas que la France soit neutre" (I don't like France to be neuter), referring to the grammatical fact that it is "la belle France" (feminine) in French but "das schöne Frankreich" (neuter) in the language of the German and Austrian conquerors.
    L'armée is feminine, not in spite of consisting traditionally of men, but because it stands for la force armée and la force is feminine. Similar to les forces armées you have in Spanish las fuerzas armadas also feminine.
    Besides Kelly B's, at first sight, incogruously feminine "la personne" (though it had to have one of the two available genders), there are also the slightly more remarkable "la victime" which can refer to either sex or an indeterminate one, and "la sentinelle" (the sentry) formerly always a man, except for the odd female in drag who managed to infiltrate the ranks. Person is also feminine in other Romance languages and it is "die Person" (feminine) in German too. The original Latin "PERSONA" was already feminine. Why? - you must ask the Ancient Greeks or possibly the mysterious Etruscans!
    Beginners are somewhat startled to find that girl in German is neuter: "das Mädchen". This is because it is a diminutive derived from die Magd (maid) and all diminutives are neuter. They may also raise their eyebrows slightly to find that stone, "der Stein", is masculine but the word for pig which rhymes with it is "das Schwein" (neuter). I long since gave up worrying about such things.
    A. :D
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    The German system of constantly reinforcing the person's sex in the job title is quite contrary to the efforts of feminists in the English language.

    The idea in English is to be inclusive, to de-sex the language, and get rid of all sex-specific terms. The idea being that if we don't have these naughty sexist words, we won't be able to think any naughty sexist thoughts.
    Different languages seem to be taking different routes to inclusion. See the examples here.

    Yes, this is what interested me. What does it mean that "l'armée", for instance, is traditionally a male enclave and yet the noun is feminine?
    Or la police. And la Mafia!
    It's not uncommon for the names of traditionally male institutions to be feminine. Make of that what you will.

    This is how I have always felt, but I was told, back in the 70s in the US, that with a bit of consciousness raising I would soon understand that my attitude was merely resistance due to cultural brainwashing. :rolleyes:
    Sounds vaguely familiar to me. ;)

    Grammatical gender usually has little to do with biological sex distinctions. Even in very macho Latin nauta (sailor) and agricola (farmer), both traditionally male occcupations, were both feminine nouns.
    Are you sure about that? I read that they were masculine...
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    "But in some languages, for example in Spanish, there have also been campaigns against the traditional use of the masculine gender to refer to mixed gender groups". (From the Wikipedia article referred to by Outsider)

    ¿Hay alguien que se ha dado cuento de una tentativa, sea de índole oficial o no, de abolir el uso del masculino en castellaño para abarcar grupos de género mixto?
    Yo, no.
    This would include, unthinkably, the dropping of los reyes to refer to the king and queen of Spain as well as "Los reyes católicos", Ferdinand and Isabella, who sent Columbus on his journey of discovery, and , last not least, mis padres meaning my father and mother. Fellow (oh dear!) foreras and foreros may remember Natalie Wood in Bernstein's "West Side Story" warning her controversial WASP boyfriend: "Quiet, you will wake my fathers!"

    Tocado! You have caught me out, Outsider. I should have said that Latin nauta and agricola have a feminine form. They are indeed treated as masculine nouns: agricola bonus (a/the good farmer) and nauta audax (a/the bold sailor).
     

    alexacohen

    Banned
    Spanish. Spain
    Hello:
    I hate it. Simply hate it.
    This politically correct mania is a rage in Spain.
    I attended last week a meeting at my daughters' school.
    The opening speech ran very much like this:
    (English version of one of the most stupid Spanish PC speeches I've had the displeasure to heard)

    "Good afternoon mothers and fathers of our pupils and pupilesses. We have asked you to come so we all can discuss the new schedule with the teachers and the teacheresses, the proffessors and the proffessoresses, the tutors and the tutoressers.
    The cooks and the cookeresses are here as well because the new shedule will affect them too. So are the school cleaners and the cleaneresses and..."

    And I got up and said "and the cat, and the rat, and love our dog...
    (Spanish version) and left.

    Language is communication. It's hard enough to communicate as it is, whithout PC complicating it even more.

    Alexa
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    As I said in my posting of 1.51 today, I am totally unaware of any move to put the Spanish language through the PC mangle, as alluded to in the Wikipedia article referring to such linguistic reforms. A pity you, alexacohen, didn't quote some of the new changes in the Spanish version of the school director's PC-tainted address. I live a solitary life almost totally devoid of the ambient alegría and have remained hitherto quite ignorant of any attempt to sanitise the beautiful Spanish language. I suppose that in view of the ultra-liberal legislation that has been going on recently such as the legalisation of same-sex marriage it should come as no suprise that Spain might become more PC-conscious - but I haven't a clue what is happening in that respect. May I ask again for information on this?
     

    alexacohen

    Banned
    Spanish. Spain
    Arrius:
    I don't know if the PC thing is regulated or legislated or what. In fact I don't care to check what is, to me, an utterly ridiculous way of forcing a change in a given language.
    Plural in Spanish has never been a masculine word, it was just a plural for both masculine and feminine.
    Same for many professions.
    "Juez" was applied to both women and men who were jueces. Now juez is for male, jueza for female, médico for male, médica for female and so on.
    Disgusting.
    As for the school director stupid address, it ran like this:
    "Buenas tardes, madres y padres de nuestros alumnos y alumnas. Les (¿y las?) hemos pedido que vengan para que todos (¿y todas?) podamos discutir el nuevo horario con los maestros y maestras, profesores y profesoras, los tutores y las tutoras.
    Los cocineros y cocineras también están aquí porque el nuevo horario también les afecta a ellos (¿y ellas?). Y por supuesto los limpiadores y limpiadoras y...."
    Y un jamón.
    Alexa
     

    Vanda

    Moderesa de Beagá
    Português/ Brasil
    This is the position of most French women (I can't say about other francophone countries). Words are just the appearence given to facts, not mere facts. We have so many major issues to cope with in our everyday life that we find useless to fiercely fight every masculine form of feminine things... we have more important things to think of. Furthermore, France isn't fond of polically correctness. We have a rather sarcastic sense of humour that prevents us to adopt the PC attitude, I'm afraid. :D


    Yes, this precisely explains why we don't care about this question of genders. They are just word genders, and have nothing to do with the reality of what they describe.
    I second Agnès for Portuguese language and Brazilian's feelings on the matter.(of course I refer to the majority as in any other place)
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Thank you Alexacohen. If you have encountered it only in what I assume is a private school, perhaps this disease is still confined to such small outbreaks, probably contracted through contact with the anglo-saxon world. But the mention of jueza and medica etc. that seem to have been heard or read elsewhere is rather worrying. I myself have only come across "presidenta" which I think is well-established and necessary. Perhaps some Spanish forera/o might enlighten us, by all means in Spanish if they prefer, on what exactly is going on.
    If it is part of a big campaign, I would say that the Spaniards should concentrate first on preventing their womenfolk from being beaten up with such alarming frequency (violencia de género), before they think about giving them such useless and silly titles.
     

    alexacohen

    Banned
    Spanish. Spain
    Thank you Alexacohen. If you have encountered it only in what I assume is a private school, perhaps this disease is still confined to such small outbreaks, probably contracted through contact with the anglo-saxon world. But the mention of jueza and medica etc. that seem to have been heard or read elsewhere is rather worrying. I myself have only come across "presidenta" which I think is well-established and necessary. Perhaps some Spanish forera/o might enlighten us, by all means in Spanish if they prefer, on what exactly is going on.
    If it is part of a big campaign, I would say that the Spaniards should concentrate first on preventing their womenfolk from being beaten up with such alarming frequency (violencia de género), before they think about giving them such useless and silly titles.
    Arrius, this has been discussed in the Spanish Only Forum. I'll try to find the threads, because I grow tired of the PC discussion and left, so I don't remember exactly the threads titles.
    As for "violencia de género" is so absurd a language twist that it doesn't deserve a comment.
    Alexa
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Arrius, about what you read in the article, remember that it's from Wikipedia. Anyone can write anything there. The claim isn't accompanied by a source, so its credibility is low.
    I only linked to the article because I thought it had an interesting cross-linguistic overview of how gender-inclusive language is conceived.
     

    faranji

    Senior Member
    portuñol
    As for "violencia de género" is so absurd a language twist that it doesn't deserve a comment.
    Amen to that, my dear. Violencia de género makes me think of a terrible blunder in masculine/feminine concordance. By the same token, surely a lynching should be dubbed violencia de número?
     

    faranji

    Senior Member
    portuñol
    If it is part of a big campaign, I would say that the Spaniards should concentrate first on preventing their womenfolk from being beaten up with such alarming frequency (violencia de género), before they think about giving them such useless and silly titles.
    I don't think it's that alarming, dear Arrius. In the ranking of violence against women, Spain occupies one of the lowest positions for the whole of Europe. Violence against women is much less frequent in Spain than in Sweden, Finland or Germany, which are at the top of that infamous ranking.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    You're an incorrigible sexist bigot, cuchuflete. What does a tad-on-the-chubby-side, slightly-past-her-prime woman have to do in all this?

    jamona
    1 (inf.) adj. y n. f. Mujer que ha dejado de ser joven, sobre todo si está algo *gorda.
    That's obviously not what I had in mind, faranji. What else would you use to describe a jamón of either variety in a thoroughly pc gender neutral world?

    Oye señor carnicero, dame un jamón serrano, no me importa que sea jamona o majo, pero que
    no tenga mucha grasa.




    As to my being incorrigible... Es verdad que cuando quiero comer una pera no busco ningún pero.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Very relieved to hear that the rumours of an undesirable PC language reform, apparently supported by an article now said to be probably spurious, and by the personal evidence of Alexacohen, may lack sufficient substance to be considered serious, Also to hear that Spain is said to be low in the battered -wife league despite almost daily stories in the press and on TV that give a contrary impression. Perhaps the stories often go unreported in countries which are greater offenders,
    I apologise if I have spoiled the thread and now withdraw to leave it to others to keep it on track.
    PS I was using the ever-recurrent official term for the above-mentioned offence, and had no intention of making a crude pun on so distressing a phenomenon.
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Anti-sexism applied to languages that have gender as a grammatical feature often gives ridiculous results, and should be vigorously opposed.

    In French, feminists have invented écrivaine as the feminine of écrivain "writer". To me écrivaine rhymes with vaine "vain".

    Even in English, remember the stupid *her-story for history! :D How can people be that ignorant?
     

    Argónida

    Senior Member
    Español-Andalucía
    Specially for Arrius and Alexa. This is one of the discussions from the Spanish forum about the supposed sexism in the Spanish language.

    I agree with Alexa. There is a trend here that try to prove our language is sexist so we have to change it and say "alumnado" instead of "alumnos", "humanidad" instead of "el hombre", "nosotros y nosotras" instead of "nosotros", etc. Some people even defends the use of "@" (that is not a Spanish letter, of course) in order to avoid the words' gender: alumn@s instead of "alumnos"... This trend prevail, in my opinion, in public institutions more than in the private ones. In fact, the women departments of councils, regional governments, etc. publish books and brochures where recommend the use of no-sexist language. In the thread I put above you can find a link with an official brochure that says we musn't use the word "jóvenes" because it's a sexist word, so it's much better to say "jóvenas"...

    Perdón por no saber decir esto en inglés: "Si eso no es buscarle tres pies al gato, que venga dios y lo vea...".
     

    alexacohen

    Banned
    Spanish. Spain
    Thank you, Argónida. I couldn't find the thread.
    I hate the stupid mania of writing a plural as alumn@s, and not alumnos. It is really stupid, what about camarad@s?
    And I have already written this somewhere else, but no one in the PC language department of councils and the like has ever said a word about this:
    When a Spaniard says "this is cojonudo" (=related to the male genitals), it means that something is wonderful.
    When a Spaniard says "this is a coñazo" (=related to the female genitals), it means that something is insufferable.
    And, if I may, I will say that politically correct non sexist language is an utter coñazo.
    Alexa
     

    kdl77

    Senior Member
    Italy, Italian
    In Italian, it is a big problem, so much that even the Ministero dell'Istruzione wrote, some years ago, a little book called "Regole per un uso non sessista della lingue italiana". It was for teachers and writers and journalists.
    Some examples to prove you our NOT-AT-ALL-PC language.
    - Uomo = "man" of "human being", Donna = "woman" and stop
    - In a list of even a thousand nouns, if there is a masculine one, than the related adjective must be masculine (ex: Maria, Carla, Roberta e Mario sono andatI a mangiare)
    - There is no feminine for words like: capo, muratore, pescatore, corridore... They are supposed to be "macho-jobs"!
    And so on.
    Shame on us!

    [Forgive me for my bad English...]
     

    Namakemono

    Senior Member
    Español, gallego (España)
    Are you qualified to make such a diagnosis?
    Well, for one, @ is not a letter. Also, you can only use it in a handful of words. You can't use it in "estudiante" or "trabajador" (even though I've seen insurgent@s...). What about those words? What's the PC term for los Reyes Católicos?
    Keep in mind that gender is not the same as sex. Objects in Spanish have gender. Would anyone be so insane as to say "las ventanas y los espejos están rotos y rotas." The obvious answer is "no, the masculine has adjective has all the information we need".
    Also, I dare you to use @ to make gender-neutral words in Russian or German.
     

    jonquiliser

    Senior Member
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Thank you, Argónida. I couldn't find the thread.
    I hate the stupid mania of writing a plural as alumn@s, and not alumnos. It is really stupid, what about camarad@s?
    And I have already written this somewhere else, but no one in the PC language department of councils and the like has ever said a word about this:
    When a Spaniard says "this is cojonudo" (=related to the male genitals), it means that something is wonderful.
    When a Spaniard says "this is a coñazo" (=related to the female genitals), it means that something is insufferable.
    And, if I may, I will say that politically correct non sexist language is an utter coñazo.
    Alexa
    I think there's both a word and two about these kind of expressions... But then, I'm not much for political correctness, because if it is truly political correctness someone's abiding to, there's really no substance or honesty in it anyway. But I use (and enjoy it) expressions some people like to brand "political correctness". I think there are several dimensions to it - the language may not be "intrinsically" sexist, racist or the like.

    But it certainly illustrates and demonstrates historical sexist/racist/bigotry etc. That's why language looks like it does. Calling the attention to these facts of language, at the same time creates a debate about the attitudes people do have. People often DO tend to see, for example, males as the norm - women are "gendered", the ones that deviate is some senses, whereas men are the measure of all and everything. This is physically, literally manifest in an extreme number of cases. And so on and so on. So using the arroba, in Spanish, or to say "hijo de hombre" :)D) for example, may make (and often does!) people pause for a second. (And has the additional plus of a certain comical touch). My céntimos :)
     

    jonquiliser

    Senior Member
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Well, for one, @ is not a letter. Also, you can only use it in a handful of words. You can't use it in "estudiante" or "trabajador" (even though I've seen insurgent@s...). What about those words? What's the PC term for los Reyes Católicos?
    Las Reinas Católicas! Shear numbers would have it make sense to use the feminine to denote the general ("impersonal") and male/female mixed groups. :D

    Objects in Spanish have gender. Would anyone be so insane as to say "las ventanas y los espejos están rotos y rotas." The obvious answer is "no, the masculine has adjective has all the information we need".
    No, we can just say "están rotas". Why on earth use the masculine, when there's the feminine? Jeje.
     

    zazap

    Senior Member
    Canada, French and English
    Thank goodness Jonquiliser beat me to posting. Her post is much nicer and funnier than mine would have been:D.
    It's true that a lot of my teenage male students call me "hombre" (man) or even "macho"(male) when they are talking to me. When I call them "chica" (girl) or "mujer" (woman) they are shocked. That's pretty funny:D.
    I still don't call them "insane" (although, why anybody in their right mind would call me "hombre", I don't know) and wouldn't throw that adjective so freely around.
     

    Namakemono

    Senior Member
    Español, gallego (España)
    It's an interjection. When I use "God" (Dios, qué frío) in a sentence, I'm not talking about heavenly beings.

    No, we can just say "están rotas". Why on earth use the masculine, when there's the feminine? Jeje.
    Because that's how our language is. Period. Changing it because it's machista is not only a lie, but also ridiculous.
     
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