Gender and language

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Gender and language

Postby linguoboy » 2020-07-20, 20:51

Inspired by this tangential comment elsewhere:
Linguaphile wrote:Honestly, the different ways languages are adapting to become more inclusive (or not adapting, as the case may be) is a truly fascinating field of study. In Estonian and Finnish, it's entirely possible to have very lengthy interactions discussing a person without ever knowing or needing to know what gender a person is; in Spanish, you can't even get past the first adjective that way. And it gets much more nuanced than that. I've had many "lightbulb moments" when seeing for the first time how a language's grammatical structure impacts the interpretation or expression of gender issues. It's probably not the right topic for this thread since this is "what made you laugh" and this isn't something I find funny in a "haha" way - if I laugh (and I sometimes do!) it's in a startled "oh wow, I hadn't thought of it like that but that really solves an issue we have in English [or creates one we don't have in English]" sort of way, not in a "that's a good joke" way. This is not the right place to post examples so I won't, but it's just fascinating.


There have been some recent attempts to do something about the situation in Spanish. I'd recently heard about the -e termination, but not about some of these other proposals: https://nonbinary.wiki/wiki/Gender_neutral_language_in_Spanish. I find them fascinating because they represent a much more thoroughgoing attempt to shift grammatical norms than just creating a set of gender-neutral pronouns. I haven't heard of any other Romance languages attempting anything as radical.

I've been wondering for a while if there's any move to move away from gendered pronouns in Korean and other East Asian languages. The irony is that these languages historically did not distinguish gender in third-person pronouns (or--in the case of Korean--make much use of them at all) and only very recently developed such a distinction under the influence of European languages. But it only takes a few generations to make a change seem "natural" and now a contrast between 그 /ku/ and 그녀 /kunye/ is pretty firmly established. Still, it's perfectly possible to avoid using either in many cases without sounding stilted because Korean generally prefers repeating personal designations (whether personal names, kinship terms, titles, or some combination of these) to using anaphoric pronouns.
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Re: Gender and language

Postby Linguaphile » 2020-07-20, 21:56

Well, since I'm the one quoted....

linguoboy wrote:There have been some recent attempts to do something about the situation in Spanish. I'd recently heard about the -e termination, but not about some of these other proposals: https://nonbinary.wiki/wiki/Gender_neutral_language_in_Spanish. I find them fascinating because they represent a much more thoroughgoing attempt to shift grammatical norms than just creating a set of gender-neutral pronouns. I haven't heard of any other Romance languages attempting anything as radical.

Yes, but the problem with many of them, like amig@, amig*, amigⒶ, amigx, etc., is that they work fine in writing but don't have an agreed-upon pronunciation. When reading them aloud, you send up saying "amigo/amiga", and if you're going to say it that way, you might as well be writing it that way too (which has already been a norm for a long time, usually written as amigo/a). RAE's position is: "El uso de la arroba como marca de género no es ni necesario ni aceptable desde el punto de vista de la morfología del español. Si desea dirigirse explícitamente a personas de uno y otro sexo, puede usar la barra separando las terminaciones, en el orden que desee."
► Show Spoiler


With the vowels, there are several issues. Using "e" creates some homonyms ("los/las" become "les", but that already has a different use, for example), and for many words the -e ending is a masculine form already in the plural (españoles, doctores, profesores, etc.) so it's harder to view it as inclusive.
Using "u" (amigu) (and in some cases "i") is perceived as imitating/mocking an indigenous (and unfortunately, by stereotypical association, uneducated) accent in some regions - try to adapt to the needs of one group and alienate another! - although if the use of "u" for gender-neutral language became better-known the association with indigenous and/or uneducated accents would hopefully die away.

For now, though, it's all really quite complicated.

For example, here's what RAE has stated: "La morfología del género en los sustantivos que designan seres animados se basa en un esquema binario, basado en las categorías biológicas de sexo masculino/femenino, de manera que el sistema lingüístico no dispone de un recurso específico para esa eventualidad." and "El uso de la @ o de las letras «e» y «x» como supuestas marcas de género inclusivo es ajeno a la morfología del español, además de innecesario, pues el masculino gramatical ya cumple esa función como término no marcado de la oposición de género."
► Show Spoiler

They also recommend simply avoiding gendered words, such as saying things like "cada quien" in place of "cada uno". Trying to entirely avoid gendered words in Spanish in spoken language is impossible though, at least the way it is now.

Google Translate made a big deal of adding gender-specific translations a year or two ago, hyped as "eliminating gender bias" (which is a valid point, as previously it used mainly masculine forms). But it also created the awkward situation that if you type "non binary" into Google Translate, you get a little note right above the translation that says "Translations are gender-specific" and proceeds to offer you two translations: "No binaria(feminine)" or "No binario(masculine)". This was unfortunately turned into a meme supposedly claiming that Google Translate was taking a stand against gender-neutral terms. But actually this is not the case as GT also gives a definition of "non binary" which is the following: "not relating to, composed of, or involving just two things. Aristotelian ontology is nonbinary on the second level in that it allows for degrees of being 2 relating to, using, or denoting a system of numerical notation that does not have 2 as a base. The enumeration data is stored in a nonbinary format." So it is not talking about the human gender-related meaning of "non binary", at least not primarily. Anyway, they have somewhat fixed it; you still get what I've described above if you type in "non binary" as two words or joined by a hyphen, but if you write it as "nonbinary" (as one word), it gives you only one choice, "no binario" (and the masculine form is correct for the gender category, because it refers to género no binario, and género is masculine regardless of the gender of the person in question.

Another gender issue is the use of the masculine form whenever there is any man in a group, regardless of the presence of women. I once had a guy ask me why he should learn the use of the word nosotras if there is no conceivable situation in which he would ever say it, and to a certain extent he does have a point there (although he should learn it in order to understand people say it when they are referring to groups he isn't part of, for example).
But there is also a trend to go by "majority rules" rather than "male-dominated" language, by which I mean that traditionally in a group of 30, if there are 29 women and one man, everyone in the group should use the word nosotros ("we") because of that one man, but by "majority rules" then everyone in the group should use the word nosotras (even the man should use it when he wants to say "we") because there are more women than men.
It makes some sense. I've seen that logic being used in conversation but I've yet to encounter a situation in which the men say nosotros while the women in the same group say nosotras, although, to be honest, that would seem to me to be a fairly logical solution as well. :mrgreen: I think the issue with that scenario might be that by using nosotros in that situation it might sound as though the men were objecting to the women's use of nosotras for the group ("correcting" the women by using the "right" pronoun), rather than simply referring to their own gender.

This is a long (156p) but interesting read: Informe de la Real Academia Española sobre el lenguaje inclusivo y cuestiones conexas

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Re: Gender and language

Postby vijayjohn » 2020-07-21, 2:33

I'm not aware of anything having happened in Chinese, but then the pronunciation never changed in any variety of Chinese I know of anyway.

Malayalam does have gender-specific pronouns, and they are commonly used, but they are not particularly polite in the first place, so I'm not sure there's any perceived need to eliminate them altogether.

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Re: Gender and language

Postby Aurinĭa » 2020-07-21, 12:24

vijayjohn wrote:I'm not aware of anything having happened in Chinese, but then the pronunciation never changed in any variety of Chinese I know of anyway.

According to Wikipedia, this is what happened in Chinese. A change in written language, but no change in spoken language.

Following the iconoclastic May Fourth Movement in 1919, and to accommodate the translation of Western literature, written vernacular Chinese developed separate pronouns for gender-differentiated speech, and to address animals, deities, and inanimate objects. In the second person, they are nǐ (祢 "you, a deity"), nǐ (你 "you, a male"), and nǐ (妳 "you, a female"). In the third person, they are tā (牠 "it, an animal"), tā (祂 "it, a deity"), and tā (它 "it, an inanimate object"). Among users of traditional Chinese characters, these distinctions are only made in Taiwanese Mandarin; in simplified Chinese, tā (它) is the only third-person non-human form and nǐ (你) is the only second person form. The third person distinction between "he" (他) and "she" (她) remain in use in all forms of written standard Mandarin.[6]

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Re: Gender and language

Postby vijayjohn » 2020-07-21, 15:15

Yes, of course; what I mean is I'm not aware of the change in the written language having been reversed or anything like that.

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Re: Gender and language

Postby linguoboy » 2020-07-21, 15:22

vijayjohn wrote:I'm not aware of anything having happened in Chinese, but then the pronunciation never changed in any variety of Chinese I know of anyway.

Victor Mair posted in Language Log seven years ago about attempts to replace 他 and 她 with epicene "ta": https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=8937. He notes:
In any case, it is noteworthy that some native speakers feel the need to resort to using Pinyin in order to avoid indicating gender. My guess is that they do so, instead of simply junking all the concocted gendered forms of the second and third person pronouns and just going back to genderless tā 他 ("he, she, it") and nǐ 你 ("you"), because the characters seem somehow to be palpable and eternal. Once they come into existence, it is hard ever to let go of them.

I don't know if this was a blip or if it's actually gained any traction. I haven't noticed "ta" being used extensively in Mandarin texts, but then I'm not active in the sorts of fora where you might see that.
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Re: Gender and language

Postby OldBoring » 2020-07-26, 13:58

"TA" in China (I've never seen it lowercase) is used in social media and in online language, but not in official texts.

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Re: Gender and language

Postby dEhiN » 2021-01-04, 10:09

Does anyone know whether the Francophone world is attempting to change French into a genderless language? I think I've read in the past about some attempts in France, but I'm not sure what they are/were. I'm also curious whether communities that speak languages with non-gender grammatical categories have these types of debates. I imagine some of those languages probably do have gendered third person pronouns, but maybe some don't and so in that sense are essentially "genderless" already.

I think for me personally, while I get the grammatical gender issue - especially in cases like the third person plural defaulting to the masculine form for groups with at least one man - I also feel like so much of the problem arises from the confusing of gender as a grammatical category with gender as a societal category. Perhaps this is my naive, English-biased logic speaking here, but apart from pronouns, should there even be a debate considering that in a sense, the technique of nominal gender categorization is really no different than the technique of nominal categories entitled things like Category I, etc.

I've even seen attempts made to change English words that aren't gendered at all, but happen to have as part of their spelling a subset of letters spelling out a gendered English word, into something that etymologically makes no sense. I'm specifically thinking of feminists using *herstory in place of history. I consider myself a feminist, and I work hard to try and understand and be sensitive to women and their various stories and experiences. But, the first time I saw that, which was on a blog, I got really angry. It's funny, because, for me, if they had coined their own term and did something like her-story, with perhaps brackets or a footnote explaining that it was a play on her history, that wouldn't get me angry. But I think what gets to me is the (I imagine intentional?) mixing up of history and its etymology as a regular English word that happens to contain his in it, with some patriarchal attempt by past English speakers to turn history into one giant patriarchal story by even having the term we use contain a male-motivated form within it. I think at that point, I started tempering my view on the fight for genderless language and am now in the camp that things are going a little overboard.
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Re: Gender and language

Postby md0 » 2021-01-04, 10:12

Last I looked into it, French was doing the same as Greek and Russian: pushing for accepted feminine forms of professional nouns that are exclusively used in the masculine form. Those languages have 97% gender-specific nouns (made up number) so the natural thing to do is fill the gap. English has 3% gender-specific nouns, and therefore it just makes sense to push for eliminating the last few (actress, waitress... are there more?).

Wasn't 'herstory' a joke from a film? I only ever heard it used by comedians (Samantha Bee comes to mind).
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Re: Gender and language

Postby dEhiN » 2021-01-04, 10:14

md0 wrote:Last I looked into it, French was doing the same as Greek and Russian: pushing for accepted feminine forms of professional nouns that are exclusively used in the masculine form.

Do you know if there are any attempts to change pronoun use?

md0 wrote:Wasn't 'herstory' a joke from a film? I only ever heard it used by comedians (Samantha Bee comes to mind).

Perhaps it came to be used as a joke, but the blog I found it on was a feminist blog and I recall them explaining their use of 'herstory' as an attempt to remove the 'his' from 'history' when talking about women.
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Re: Gender and language

Postby md0 » 2021-01-04, 10:24

dEhiN wrote:Do you know if there are any attempts to change pronoun use?

I am about 8 years out of date, but I think that's not a central concern of inclusive language advocates in French. They are more focused on finding the proper punctuation to combine masculine and feminine forms of nouns and adjectives: musicien(nne) vs musicien/musicienne vs musicien·ne. Same issue in German, AFAIK.

dEhiN wrote:Perhaps it came to be used as a joke, but the blog I found it on was a feminist blog and I recall them explaining their use of 'herstory' as an attempt to remove the 'his' from 'history' when talking about women.

My first instinct would be not to take it literally, but rather as a pun playing the role of a metaphor. It's not a half-bad metaphor either, although maybe overused nowadays.
Sure, if they truly meant it literally, they are wrong.
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Re: Gender and language

Postby OldBoring » 2021-01-04, 11:59

In a Vice article translated into Italian, I've seen the schwa symbol ə as the gender-neutral ending.

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Re: Gender and language

Postby dEhiN » 2021-01-04, 12:07

OldBoring wrote:In a Vice article translated into Italian, I've seen the schwa symbol ə as the gender-neutral ending.

Is that a common thing, or becoming common? I assume if it's in an article, then the editors knew their readers would understand it? Or was it in an article talking about gender-neutral endings in Italian?
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Re: Gender and language

Postby OldBoring » 2021-01-04, 13:02

dEhiN wrote:
OldBoring wrote:In a Vice article translated into Italian, I've seen the schwa symbol ə as the gender-neutral ending.

Is that a common thing, or becoming common? I assume if it's in an article, then the editors knew their readers would understand it? Or was it in an article talking about gender-neutral endings in Italian?

It's probably not common. In fact I've only seen it in Vice articles and other articles talking about gender inclusiveness.

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Re: Gender and language

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-01-04, 15:40

OldBoring wrote:In a Vice article translated into Italian, I've seen the schwa symbol ə as the gender-neutral ending.

As mentioned earlier in this thread, Spanish has introduced several different gender-neutral endings, such as -x, -@, and so on. They aren't accepted by the RAE and have the disadvantage of being difficult to pronounce, but they're common enough in writing that they can be used with the expectation that they'll be understood. In terms of trends, I think I've seen -x used more often in the U.S. and -@ used more often in Spanish-speaking countries.

dEhiN wrote:I'm also curious whether communities that speak languages with non-gender grammatical categories have these types of debates. I imagine some of those languages probably do have gendered third person pronouns, but maybe some don't and so in that sense are essentially "genderless" already.

No, these debates are unneeded and fairly meaningless in languages without grammatical gender or gendered pronouns. For example Estonian has neither (and the few feminine-specific nouns are optional and have been somewhat "dated" for a long time already except in contexts that necessitate a mention of gender; there's always a gender-neutral word that can be used instead). I've never heard of a debate like this in Estonian and I can't even really imagine what such a debate would look like, as the language is naturally gender-neutral.

dEhiN wrote:I think for me personally, while I get the grammatical gender issue - especially in cases like the third person plural defaulting to the masculine form for groups with at least one man - I also feel like so much of the problem arises from the confusing of gender as a grammatical category with gender as a societal category. Perhaps this is my naive, English-biased logic speaking here, but apart from pronouns, should there even be a debate considering that in a sense, the technique of nominal gender categorization is really no different than the technique of nominal categories entitled things like Category I, etc.

I don't know about French but in Spanish, the debate only concerns the words that do refer to human gender, not to the entire grammatical gender system. For example profesor and profesora would be changed to profesor@ to make them gender-neutral, but no one is proposing a change from la mesa to l@ mes@, etc. People understand the difference between nominal gender categorization and actual human gender. I think the confusion between the two comes largely from second-language learners who aren't accustomed to grammatical gender for non-animate objects, not from the speakers of those languages. There may be a few "extreme" views out there that do propose eliminating grammatical gender, but they'd certainly be a minority.

dEhiN wrote:apart from pronouns, should there even be a debate

Pronouns, gendered nouns that refer to people (cf. profesor and profesora above) and the adjectives that agree with them (profesor aburrido and profesora aburrida > profesor@ aburrid@). For the latter RAE recommends writing profesor/a aburrido/a.

dEhiN wrote:I've even seen attempts made to change English words that aren't gendered at all, but happen to have as part of their spelling a subset of letters spelling out a gendered English word, into something that etymologically makes no sense. I'm specifically thinking of feminists using *herstory in place of history. I consider myself a feminist, and I work hard to try and understand and be sensitive to women and their various stories and experiences. But, the first time I saw that, which was on a blog, I got really angry. It's funny, because, for me, if they had coined their own term and did something like her-story, with perhaps brackets or a footnote explaining that it was a play on her history, that wouldn't get me angry. But I think what gets to me is the (I imagine intentional?) mixing up of history and its etymology as a regular English word that happens to contain his in it, with some patriarchal attempt by past English speakers to turn history into one giant patriarchal story by even having the term we use contain a male-motivated form within it. I think at that point, I started tempering my view on the fight for genderless language and am now in the camp that things are going a little overboard.

It is part pun and part serious. I am not certain but it seems like it started from the idea of history being mainly told from a male perspective. As such, it is "his story", despite the fact that this is not the actual etymology (hence the pun). The idea is to add "her story" to it as well, so the word "herstory" came into use. A convenient pun to describe the concept. It is not an attempt to change every instance of the syllable "his" into the syllable "her," but a specific case to point out what is perceived as a gender-skewed perspective of historical events and to add a feminine perspective to it.

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Re: Gender and language

Postby linguoboy » 2021-01-04, 18:48

Linguaphile wrote:
OldBoring wrote:In a Vice article translated into Italian, I've seen the schwa symbol ə as the gender-neutral ending.

As mentioned earlier in this thread, Spanish has introduced several different gender-neutral endings, such as -x, -@, and so on. They aren't accepted by the RAE and have the disadvantage of being difficult to pronounce, but they're common enough in writing that they can be used with the expectation that they'll be understood. In terms of trends, I think I've seen -x used more often in the U.S. and -@ used more often in Spanish-speaking countries.

More recently I've heard -e, which has the advantage of being usable in speech. There was even a dust-up in Argentina last year when a youth activist used it live on the air: http://www.cslatinoamericana.org/jovenes-argentinos-lideran-batalla-por-el-lenguaje-sin-distinciones-de-genero/.
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Re: Gender and language

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-01-04, 19:05

linguoboy wrote:
Linguaphile wrote:
OldBoring wrote:In a Vice article translated into Italian, I've seen the schwa symbol ə as the gender-neutral ending.

As mentioned earlier in this thread, Spanish has introduced several different gender-neutral endings, such as -x, -@, and so on. They aren't accepted by the RAE and have the disadvantage of being difficult to pronounce, but they're common enough in writing that they can be used with the expectation that they'll be understood. In terms of trends, I think I've seen -x used more often in the U.S. and -@ used more often in Spanish-speaking countries.

More recently I've heard -e, which has the advantage of being usable in speech. There was even a dust-up in Argentina last year when a youth activist used it live on the air: http://www.cslatinoamericana.org/jovenes-argentinos-lideran-batalla-por-el-lenguaje-sin-distinciones-de-genero/.

I've heard it too, but honestly -@ and -x are much more common (in writing, obviously). The -e innovation is meant to be more pronounceable but hasn't caught on to the same extent yet.

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Re: Gender and language

Postby Naava » 2021-01-08, 11:15

Linguaphile wrote:
dEhiN wrote:I'm also curious whether communities that speak languages with non-gender grammatical categories have these types of debates. I imagine some of those languages probably do have gendered third person pronouns, but maybe some don't and so in that sense are essentially "genderless" already.

No, these debates are unneeded and fairly meaningless in languages without grammatical gender or gendered pronouns. For example Estonian has neither (and the few feminine-specific nouns are optional and have been somewhat "dated" for a long time already except in contexts that necessitate a mention of gender; there's always a gender-neutral word that can be used instead). I've never heard of a debate like this in Estonian and I can't even really imagine what such a debate would look like, as the language is naturally gender-neutral.

In Finland, the debate has focused on job titles that end in -mies ('man'). These are used for both men and women, but some people have argued that it still sets men as the default, and that we must invent truly gender-neutral titles and start using them instead.

The results have been varied. Some titles have been changed and the earlier gendered title has become dated (for example, it's rare to hear anyone speak of lehtimies (lit. newspaper-man) instead of toimittaja ('journalist', from the verb toimittaa, 'to send, to deliver; to edit; to copy edit'*), or poliisimies (lit. policeman) instead of poliisi (lit. police; the same word is used for police officers and the police forces).

Then there are cases where both gender-neutral and gendered variants are used. For example, a jurist can be either lakimies (lit. law-man) or juristi. Sometimes the gender-neutral title is used in standard language, while spoken language uses gendered titles. For example, a plumber is putkiasentaja (lit. pipe installer) in standard Finnish but putkimies (lit. pipe-man) in spoken Finnish.

And some jobs don't even have a gender-neutral variant at all, although some suggestions have been made. Only time will tell if they ever catch on. For example, firefighters are still called palomies (lit. fireman) even though some have tried to promote pelastaja (lit. rescuer, from pelastaa, 'to save, to rescue' **) as the new gender-neutral title.

Spoken language has also another set of gendered titles that don't exist in the standard language. Children (and adults talking to children) often refer to adults as "aunts" or "uncles", and you can use it with job titles too: police officers are poliisisetä (lit. police-uncle) and poliisitäti (lit. police-aunt), daycare teachers are päiväkodin täti/setä (lit. daycare's aunt/uncle), and cashiers are kassatäti or kassasetä (lit. cash desk aunt/uncle). Even though adults rarely if ever call other adults "uncles" or "aunts" if they're not talking to kids, these kind of job titles are used by everyone***. You can even see them in news: Loma-aikaan päiväkodin täti menee hoidettavan mukana sijaishoitopaikkaan (short summary: children are moved to bigger daycare centres during school holidays, and some of their "daycare aunts" will be temporarily moved to work in the same centres).

There are also feminine-specific titles such as näyttelijätär ('actress') and opettajatar ('female teacher'), but like in Estonian, these have become dated. It's rare to see them anywhere else than in historical contexts and royal titles, such as kuningatar ('queen'), kreivitär ('countess') and valtiatar ('lady, queen'; a powerful or forceful female person)****.

* toimittaa also means 'to speak, to tell (someone about something)' in my dialect. Don't know if that's a coincidence or not.
** Those who support this title also argue that the term pelastuslaitos ('rescue department') already exists, and so it'd be logical to have "rescuers" in the "rescue department". However, we also have the word paloasema ('fire station'), which is why I personally believe it can take a while to make people stop using palomies.
*** Although if an adult is talking about poliisisetä/-täti, it's often meant as humorous or ironic. Kassatäti/-setä and päiväkodin täti/setä are somewhat neutral.
**** By the way, the TV series Reign was translated as Valtiatar in Finnish.

Linguaphile
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Re: Gender and language

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-01-08, 15:34

Naava wrote:some jobs don't even have a gender-neutral variant at all, although some suggestions have been made. Only time will tell if they ever catch on. For example, firefighters are still called palomies (lit. fireman) even though some have tried to promote pelastaja (lit. rescuer, from pelastaa, 'to save, to rescue' **) as the new gender-neutral title.

Interesting! In Estonian it's the gender-neutral tuletõrjuja or also gender-neutral päästja. The male-specific pritsimees and pritsumees exist, but are rather dated and tend to be used humorous, old-fashioned or very small-town contexts. (The only use of a female-specific pritsunaine that I could find is this article from 2015, which makes use of the alliterative phrase "priitahtlik pritsunaine" ("volunteer firewoman") in the headline but calls her and her colleagues "päästja" throughout the article, aside from one use of "priitahtlikud pritsumehed" ("volunteer firemen"). Basically, in the article the pritsumees/pritsunaine variant is used purely for alliterative effect with "priitahtlik". (More standard for "volunteer firefighters" would be "vabatahtlikud tuletõrjujad" rather than "priitahtlikud pritsumehed", but Estonians love alliteration.)

Naava wrote:Spoken language has also another set of gendered titles that don't exist in the standard language. Children (and adults talking to children) often refer to adults as "aunts" or "uncles", and you can use it with job titles too: police officers are poliisisetä (lit. police-uncle) and poliisitäti (lit. police-aunt), daycare teachers are päiväkodin täti/setä (lit. daycare's aunt/uncle), and cashiers are kassatäti or kassasetä (lit. cash desk aunt/uncle).

A kindergarten teacher can be gender-neutral lasteaiakasvataja or gender-neutral lasteaednik, but children will sometimes say lasteaiatädi (kindergarten-aunt).
Police officers are politseinik which is gender-neutral. Even all the synonyms or slang I can think of for "police officer" are gender-neutral (korravaldur, pollar, võmm, etc.). If you need to emphasize that the police officer is a woman, then you can say naispolitseinik, but you would leave off the nais- prefix unless the officer's gender was particularly relevant.
"Cashier" is gender-neutral kassapidaja or the loanword kassiir.

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dEhiN
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Re: Gender and language

Postby dEhiN » 2021-01-09, 0:01

Naava wrote:In Finland, the debate has focused on job titles that end in -mies ('man'). These are used for both men and women, but some people have argued that it still sets men as the default, and that we must invent truly gender-neutral titles and start using them instead.
...
**** By the way, the TV series Reign was translated as Valtiatar in Finnish.

For police and firefighters, would something like "firefighter" or "police officer" work? In English we also use police to refer to both the officers and the overall force. And, of course, policeman and policewoman are both used; for me, I don't even think of them as dated, though I definitely would consider it dated to see policeman used to refer to a female officer. I have seen firemen used some times, but I think it's becoming more dated. I don't recall if I've ever seen *fire-woman ever as contrast to fireman, so I think firefighter is pretty much the only term used nowadays. It's funny how policewoman became a term but not *fire-woman.

Does Finnish has a language regulatory body that could or would dictate on these sorts of language changes?
N: (en-ca) B1: (fr) A1: (pt-br) ((es) (ta-lk)) A0: (sv) (ro)


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