In our latest episode, we chat with Dr. Santiago Kalinowski, the Director of the Linguistics Department at the Argentinian Academy of Letters. We get into the topic of lenguaje inclusivo/inclusive language in Spanish.
Spanish is a “morphologically rich” language… That is to say, unlike English, nouns encode grammatical gender–masculine and feminine–so, any modifying adjectives or articles must conform to the noun’s grammatical gender.
Mesa = a feminine noun that takes a feminine article, la
La mesa = the table.
And adjectives conform to mesa’s feminine gender:
La mesa bonita = the pretty table
But what about with people?
If there were a group of 12 women, 3 non-binary folks, and 2 men, you have to use the masculine ‘default’ to say “They are students”:
Ellos son estudiantes. (Ellas is the feminine plural, but can only be used if everyone in the group is female/female-identified.)
Lenguaje inclusivo, in part, is using a THIRD option, the new Elles. Or todes, or bonites. Non-binary gender? No problem.
Here is the video of the amazing young girl who tells her teacher what’s up.
Here is the video of the protester using lenguaje inclusivo, like a boss.
Since we talked with Santiago, I’ve seen so many articles about ‘Latinx’, here are a couple: Love it? Hate it? ‘Latinx’ points to the future and ‘Latinx’: An offense to the Spanish language or a nod to inclusion?
Santiago also shared some information with us, which I will share here.
For further reference, you can check any of the following links to interviews and articles written by me or where I’ve been quoted:
- First take on the issue
- Shorter version of the same article published as op ed in an actual media outlet (that I could translate to English if necessary)
- Interview in that same outlet (with two video clips).
- Piece in the fairly popular magazine “Noticias”, where I’m one of the sources.
- Full length video (1 hour and 40 minutes) of the debate that was held at the Institute of Linguistics of the University of Buenos Aires where I intervened.
Finally, remember these wise words: “I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t necessarily need to be a lawyer to defend others’ rights.”