Presentation Title

Can linguistic innovations bridge the gender divide?: Inclusive language in contemporary Spanish social media

Time

3:00 PM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Social Sciences

Abstract

Michael Dunham and Julia Higa

Can linguistic innovations bridge the gender divide?: Inclusive language in contemporary Spanish social media

In this paper, we examine the lexical innovations that present gender neutral endings (todes instead of todos, chiques instead of chicos etc.) that are being incorporated into the Spanish language due to a recent growth of feminist and LGBTQ movements in the Spanish speaking world. Our aim is to get a better grasp of this language change in-progress by investigating what subcorpora may include this phenomenon in order to shed light on which social demographics, countries/cities, and what kinds of written works contain this change. The demographics of this linguistic change will help us get a grasp of what this language shift entails. Because this type of language change is a relatively recent phenomenon and seems to be spreading among the younger generation, social media platforms should reflect what specific demographics use this linguistic innovation. We thus plan to create a twitter corpus, since that is a platform that many young people and individuals that have an interest in popular culture use. The lexical innovation to be explored are collective nouns that refer to humans and have the ending of interest (-e, -es), which would include plurals like todes (instead of todos), or the use of the gender neutral ending -x (as in latinx) in written speech. Our research question will help us determine among who, where and in what linguistic context may this language change occur. We are also interested in whether Spanish teachers at the University of Vermont may incorporate this new linguistic change in the classroom, and what the barriers to this linguistic innovation are.

References

Estaff, Remezcla. “This Young Girl Effortlessly Explains Why ‘Les’ Is an Important Gender

Neutral Pronoun In Spanish.” Remezcla, 5 Sept. 2018, remezcla.com/culture/les-gender-neutral-pronoun-in-spanish/.

Furtado, V. (2013). EL LENGUAJE INCLUSIVO COMO POLÍTICA LINGÜÍSTICA DE

GÉNERO. Núcleo Educación para la Integración Programa de Políticas Lingüísticas.

Grieve, Jack, et al. “Analyzing Lexical Emergence in Modern American English Online .”

English Language and Linguistics, vol. 21, no. 01, 10 Mar. 2016, doi:10.1017/s1360674316000526.

Jenner, Frances. “OPINION: Inclusive Gender-Neutral Spanish Is Riling Linguistic Authorities,

but Will It Stick?” The Bogotá Post, 21 June 2018, thebogotapost.com/opinion-inclusive-gender-neutral-spanish-is-riling-linguistic-authorities-but-will-it-stick/30705/.

Melamud, A. (2017). El Masculino Généro [Ebook] (1st ed.). Instituto Superior de Letras.

Retrieved from http://www.institutomallea.edu.ar/pluginfile.php/10848/course/section/1497/Melamud%2C%20Andrea%20.pdf.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Guillermo Rodriguez

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Linguistics

Primary Research Category

Arts & Humanities

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Can linguistic innovations bridge the gender divide?: Inclusive language in contemporary Spanish social media

Michael Dunham and Julia Higa

Can linguistic innovations bridge the gender divide?: Inclusive language in contemporary Spanish social media

In this paper, we examine the lexical innovations that present gender neutral endings (todes instead of todos, chiques instead of chicos etc.) that are being incorporated into the Spanish language due to a recent growth of feminist and LGBTQ movements in the Spanish speaking world. Our aim is to get a better grasp of this language change in-progress by investigating what subcorpora may include this phenomenon in order to shed light on which social demographics, countries/cities, and what kinds of written works contain this change. The demographics of this linguistic change will help us get a grasp of what this language shift entails. Because this type of language change is a relatively recent phenomenon and seems to be spreading among the younger generation, social media platforms should reflect what specific demographics use this linguistic innovation. We thus plan to create a twitter corpus, since that is a platform that many young people and individuals that have an interest in popular culture use. The lexical innovation to be explored are collective nouns that refer to humans and have the ending of interest (-e, -es), which would include plurals like todes (instead of todos), or the use of the gender neutral ending -x (as in latinx) in written speech. Our research question will help us determine among who, where and in what linguistic context may this language change occur. We are also interested in whether Spanish teachers at the University of Vermont may incorporate this new linguistic change in the classroom, and what the barriers to this linguistic innovation are.

References

Estaff, Remezcla. “This Young Girl Effortlessly Explains Why ‘Les’ Is an Important Gender

Neutral Pronoun In Spanish.” Remezcla, 5 Sept. 2018, remezcla.com/culture/les-gender-neutral-pronoun-in-spanish/.

Furtado, V. (2013). EL LENGUAJE INCLUSIVO COMO POLÍTICA LINGÜÍSTICA DE

GÉNERO. Núcleo Educación para la Integración Programa de Políticas Lingüísticas.

Grieve, Jack, et al. “Analyzing Lexical Emergence in Modern American English Online .”

English Language and Linguistics, vol. 21, no. 01, 10 Mar. 2016, doi:10.1017/s1360674316000526.

Jenner, Frances. “OPINION: Inclusive Gender-Neutral Spanish Is Riling Linguistic Authorities,

but Will It Stick?” The Bogotá Post, 21 June 2018, thebogotapost.com/opinion-inclusive-gender-neutral-spanish-is-riling-linguistic-authorities-but-will-it-stick/30705/.

Melamud, A. (2017). El Masculino Généro [Ebook] (1st ed.). Instituto Superior de Letras.

Retrieved from http://www.institutomallea.edu.ar/pluginfile.php/10848/course/section/1497/Melamud%2C%20Andrea%20.pdf.