Todos/Todas/Todes Addendum

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:

  1. First take on the issue
  2. Shorter version of the same article published as op ed in an actual media outlet (that I could translate to English if necessary)
  3. Interview in that same outlet (with two video clips).
  4. Piece in the fairly popular magazine “Noticias”, where I’m one of the sources.
  5. 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.”


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