I’ve been thinking about this subject quite a bit lately while I’ve been working on refreshing my Spanish skills. In English, it’s really not that hard to make a sentence gender-neutral. But in many other languages, there seems to be (from my perspective, anyway) a lot more emphasis on gendering people/things. I’ve been making it a point in my life lately to avoid making assumptions about a person’s gender, so the very gender-specific nature of Spanish has been bothering me more than it ever did before. I am a total nerd for linguistics (I mean, I did study it for 4 years), so I really want to educate myself on this.
If anybodyhas any resources for information on gender-neutrality in languages other than English, I would really appreciate them.
My first ever sociology paper was titled “Language and Gender Identity: Expressing Diversity in a Binary System.” I found Anna Livia’s (2001) Pronoun Envy: Literary Uses of Linguistic Gender to be pretty interesting. If I remember correctly she does touch on gendered language in French. I wrote this paper over four years ago, and it was not in any way extensive, so I’m sure there’s plenty of other stuff out there. Livia might be a good starting point, though!
I’ve recently started thinking about my “sex number” again. I used to think about it a lot. For years I kept a running tally in my head of how many partners I had had in my life. When the number got too high to manage mentally, I kept a physical list in a notebook, with partners listed by their…