Thoughts on 'un-gendering' the Spanish language

In the United States, there has been a lot of popularity in using the term "Latinx" which is a gender-inclusive way to refer to all gender-queer and gender-nonconforming people of Latin descent. The 'x' in "Latinx" replaces the 'o' in "Latino."

Here is an excerpt from an article "What does 'Latinx' mean? A look at the term that's challenging gender norms":

“By dismantling some of the gendering within Spanish, Latinx helped modernize the idea of a pan-Latin American experience—or <em style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0); outline: none; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Latinidad—</em>one that reflects what it means to be of Latin American descent in today’s world. The term also better reflects Latin America's diversity, which is more in line with intersectionality, the study of the ways that different forms of oppression (e.g. sexism, racism, classism, and heterosexism) intersect.”<o:p></o:p>

"Latinx" is not the perfect identifying term, so it shouldn't be treated as the answer in the ongoing quest to develop a cohesive postcolonial identity. Given Latin America's turbulent history and the continued diaspora of its people, the process of figuring out one’s identity is both deeply personal and political. Still, using "Latinx" is a positive step towards recognizing all of <em style="-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0); outline: none; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit;">nuestro gente—</em>our people—and will hopefully challenge every Latin American to think about what it truly means to be part of this complex culture.

What are your views on this topic? Do you think it makes sense or not to change a structure of the language?<o:p></o:p>

Apr 18, 2017 2:02 PM
Comments · 1

Are you talking about changing the grammatical gender of the entire Spanish language, or just the term Latinx? I mean, the article is just talking about the gender-neutral term for Latin American people, but your comments seem to be talking about a language-wide change. 

I'm in favor of some changes to Spanish's structure. I strongly dislike IE grammatical gender (mostly due to randomness - animate/inanimate genders make sense to a degree, but the f/n/m system just seems to have been slapped on with no thought behind it) so I think getting rid of it is an excellent idea. It would probably make it easier for people to learn Spanish. Languages change structure all the time. Just talking about Spanish, LA Spanish has completely dropped a person (vosotros, the second person plural) and replaced it with the formal second person (ustedes), which really simplifies the language and makes it easier to learn, making Spanish more accessible. Then there's the future tense phrase, which has developed a simpler alternative: "[ir] a [infinitive]" (literally "going to [verb]), so instead of "comeré", you can say "voy a comer". According to a friend of mine, that's become very popular to the point of taking over for the future tenses. And just talking about grammatical gender, Spanish is a descendant of Latin, which had three genders. Spanish has mostly dropped the neutral gender, though there are still traces of it.

As for Latinx, I do think it's a great idea to include gender-neutral terms. Not all people are male or female (source: real world), so that doesn't force someone to pick an unfit label. Plus, Spanish's approach to gender is that if a group is all female, they use feminine pronouns, but if one man joins the group, they switch to masculine pronouns. Using Latinx for all Latin Americans includes Latinas more than using Latinos would. I hope it's a starting point for bringing back some neutral pronouns.

April 18, 2017