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Gender neutral language/lenguaje no sexista/langage épicène

Seven years ago, in the public agency, financed by the state, where I was working at that time we were asked to apply gender neutral language for all our written communication both for internal messages and for external too.

It was in a French speaking country.

I found that completely boring, complicated, in every day life and especially in writing scientific articles.

How about you? Have you been asked to write in gender neutral language in college or at work?

Do you find it easy, useful or not?

Apr 7, 2018 7:18 AM
Comments · 38

Yes, Aliph

I suggest we adopt the following changes immediately

manager = personager

man-hole = person-hole

mansion = personsion

workmanship = workpersonship    man-made = personmade

Roman = Roperson

Other new words would include: personual, personure and personiac

male= gender neutral    female =fegender neutral

boyfriend and girlfriend are both re-written as youthfriend

And the following alteration should be carried out

health - s/health  heart - s/heart   heterosexual - s/heterosexual.

I think that with a little consistency in this approach to political correctness we could turn our lives into a living s/hell !

April 7, 2018

Thanks, KP. My sentiments exactly.

I wish you hadn't started me, Aliph, because I could go on and on about this. For example, there used to be the female form of hairdresser: "Friseuse". However, this was considered disrespectful. For - get this - the sole reason that the only other German word ending in "-euse" was "Masseuse" (female masseur) which may be used as a euphemism for prostitute. And even though to my knowledge, nobody had ever associated female German hairdressers with prostitutes, nowadays, the word for a female hairdresser is "Friseurin" - a French-German bastard of a word, misbegotten by adding the German female ending "-in" to the French-derived word for male hairdresser "Friseur". And yes, you will get corrected, emphatically so, if you happen to use the old form.

April 7, 2018

Luckily I didn't experienced something like that myself but it exists to some extent.
I think this whole gender-stuff is completely useless and getting out of hand, nobody has an advantage from that whatsoever.
A first world problem par excellence.

April 7, 2018
We may be a transition generation. So it is hard for me to get used to this neutrality, because to me it makes writing and reading uglier. I have't made the exercise and may never do of rewriting some paragraphs of a master work of literature to gender neutral. Will some of its value be lost? I was writing an example in a response here yesterday and I used two male words boy and baby (which in Spanish can be made male or female with the article). I tried to fix it but I felt I shouldn't.
April 7, 2018

In Arabic, the masculine is often closer to the base form, and the feminine is created by adding a suffix.

كتب /kataba/ ("he wrote")
كتبت /katabat/ ("she wrote")

مكتب /maktab/ ("office"; masc)
مكتبة /maktaba/ ("library"; fem)

If Arabic speakers decided that they wanted to make the language gender neutral, I think the most efficient way would be to eliminate the feminine gender and just use the construct of the masculine gender. Although that would lead to a loss of many nouns. Making the word masculine sometimes completely changes its meaning, just as in the case of مكتب and مكتبة.

Additionally, gender in Arabic is often purely grammatical. It has nothing to do with the qualities of the object. No one thinks of libraries as having feminine qualities and offices as having masculine qualities. As a matter of fact, some things have different names with one name being masculine and the other feminine.

مكتوب /maktoob/ ("letter"; masc)
رسالة /risaala/ ("letter"; fem)

April 7, 2018
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Language Skills
Arabic, English, French, German, Greek (Ancient), Italian, Latin, Spanish, Swiss German
Learning Language
Arabic, English, French, German, Greek (Ancient), Latin, Spanish