December 2, 2023

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Countries Rejecting Inclusive Language (Why Many Believe It Will Win Anyway)

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“Girls”, or “Six” or “No[email protected]». In schools in the Argentine capital, teachers can no longer use gender-neutral expressions popular among young people to communicate with their students.

In June, the Buenos Aires city government issued a resolution to regulate so-called “inclusive language” in primary, elementary and secondary education.

The decision prohibits the gender-neutral endings “e”, “x” or “@” from being used in corporate communications and taught as part of the academic curriculum.

And these must be fulfilled.According to the rules Proverb Spanish”.

In justifying the regulation, authorities Portinas They noted the low results achieved by students in the Argentine capital on recent reading and writing assessments.

“The Impairment of language use It has a negative impact on learning, especially considering the effects of the epidemic,” they assured from the Ministry of Education of Buenos Aires.

“It is very important to clarify well and simplify learning,” reiterated Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Lauretta.

The resolution clarifies that the ban only applies to “contents dictated by teachers in class, materials provided to students, and official documents of educational institutions.” Students can consistently use inclusive language with each other.

He recognizes that it is important to “break down gender stereotypes that enable the use of generic masculinity and incorporate a more inclusive language.”

But he assures, “Spanish offers many options to be inclusive No need to twist the languageOr don’t add complexity to reading comprehension and fluency.

inclusive language
This is how Argentinian schools teach how to conjugate verbs Photo BBC News World

To emphasize the latter, the Govt “A Guide to Practices and Recommendations for Inclusive Communication«.

However, the announcement drew a lot of criticism from some academics, linguists and even the national education minister, whose government is politically opposed to the city of Buenos Aires and supports the use of inclusive language.

Many pointed out that There is no evidence Use of inclusive language is associated with lower test scores.

“You can’t force, much less use and customs in language can be prohibited,” said Buenos Aires deputy Alejandrina Barry, who presented a proposal to repeal the regulation in the local legislature.

Akuna’s announcement caused great discomfort Faced with “an administrative regulatory process”.


However, the Argentinian capital is not alone in speaking out against the so-called “sexist language”.

One of the first to reject these new neutral norms is considered by many to be the maxim of the Spanish language, as the Buenos Aires Convention cited in its foundations: Royal Spanish Academy (RAE).

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inclusive language
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In 2020, the RAE issued a 156-page report explaining its rejection of inclusive language in response to the then-Spanish Vice President’s request to make the constitution more inclusive.

“The Using ‘@’ or ‘e’ and ‘x’ characters Said to include gender is alien to the morphology of the Spanish language“, RAE concluded.

In addition, he declared himself opposed to the proposal to replace the common use of the grammatical masculine – considered by most critics to be the “symbolic brick of patriarchy” – with more inclusive forms.

“It is unnecessary, The generic masculine does not hide the presence of the feminine, But it includes her with the same rights as a man,” he assured.

Since the publication of that report, the RAE has maintained its position.

In late 2021, inclusive language was discussed on Twitter by a user who described it as “a set of strategies aimed at avoiding the common use of grammatical masculinity, a mechanism firmly established in language. It does not imply any gender discrimination.

Latin America

While the city of Buenos Aires’ announcement drew media attention, the reality is that the Argentine capital is not the first in the region to seek to regulate gender-neutral language.

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Last January, just before classes started in the south of the Americas, Uruguay took a similar step when it issued a circular requiring the use of inclusive language in the public education sector.Comply with the rules of the Spanish language.

A directive issued by the National Administration of Public Education (ANEP) indicates that “included expressions” may be used “as long as they are complied with”.

As with the Buenos Aires Resolution, ANEP clarified that its directives were given to teaching and non-teaching authorities and did not affect patterns of student expression.

Strictly speaking, the regulation is an update of another similar resolution already issued by the body in 2019.

Beyond education authorities, there are other efforts to hinder the progress of inclusive language in schools and other contexts in Uruguay.

Last April, representatives of the right-wing Cabildo Abierto party a A bill to prohibit “grammatical and phonetic changes”. Public administration and in public and private educational institutions.

“The intention is that words are not replaced by ‘content’ with E, X or @,” Vice-Chancellor Inés Monzillo said on her Twitter account.

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“Let’s speak our language properly”, His proposal created “concern” on the part of the Association of Teachers of the University of the Republic (ADUR).

Other countries in the region, etc ChiliIt has also seen the emergence of legislative proposals that seek to block the progress of inclusive language.

Macron’s government in France announced a law banning the use of the inclusive character in the class | Photogetty pictures


But Spanish isn’t the only language to distinguish between masculine and feminine, and has seen the emergence of new (and controversial) neutral expressions that are more inclusive.

This is not the only language that more puritanical authorities have sought to “protect” from inclusive language.

In fact, France is the country that has now given its thumbs down most strongly to language with a gender perspective.

He had his own Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blancer, In May 2021, he signed a circular banning the use of inclusive writing in class.

Unlike what happens with the endings «e», «x» or «@» in Spanish, the most used device for rendering neutrality in French is a Middle point (•).

It is used to give both masculine and feminine endings to a word simultaneously.

Take the word “amis” (friends) for example. An inclusive way to write it is: “ami•e•s”, which combines the masculine version (“ami”) with the feminine one (“amies” or friends).

It’s like the Spanish “amigos/as”.

Some people in France use low points instead of routes, like this protest poster who claims the Midwives of Segur have forgotten | Photogetty pictures

Blanker banned the use of the midpoint in schools, arguing that it was “impossible to orally transcribe texts with this type of spelling”. Makes both reading aloud and pronunciation difficult And, as a result, learning, especially the little ones».

The minister also pointed out that “it is a hindrance to the access of certain categories of minors to the language.” Learning disabilities or disorders.

It’s an argument similar to that used by some critics of inclusive Spanish, who say it makes it difficult for people. Dyslexia or blindnesstherefore, Instead of adding, it “excludes”.

Like the Buenos Aires regulation, the French ban did not reject all inclusive language, but rather sought to encourage other ways of creating inclusion, among others, “the use of feminization of trades and activities”.

However, at the end of 2021, when the well-known Petit Robert dictionary was added, the French authorities expressed their opposition to the use of gender-neutral words. Pronoun “iel”, It combines “he” and “she” and is widely used by non-binary gender people.

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Not only did Blanker get a shout-out, but French First Lady Brigitte Macron was also embroiled in controversy. with two pronouns It was enough.

“Tongue in Motion”

Despite the objections, there are many who assert that limitations and restrictions cannot prevent the imposition of inclusive language.

The editors of the famous French dictionary, in the face of controversy, explained that they simply reflected a pre-existing phenomenon.

“Le Robert’s aim was to trace the evolution of the French language in motion, varied, and report on it,” they explained in a statement.

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Even the RAE itself has finally recognized that the imposed language is the language spoken on a daily basis and not the language they dictate.

“It is good to remember that grammatical or lexical changes have succeeded in the history of our language. They were not directed from higher events, but arose spontaneously among the speakers“, he noted in his report on inclusive language.

“The promotion and adoption of linguistic innovation is the latter, and only sometimes achieves success and becomes widespread,” he clarified.

During a recent visit to Chile, Santiago Muñoz Machado, director of the educational institute, reiterated this point, saying that “it is the citizens who use the language and establish the rules.”

In an interview with the Chilean newspaper El Tiempo, Muñoz Machado also admitted «RAE always goes slightly behind Citizenship.

For her part, the famous Argentinian writer Claudia Piñero was one of the first personalities of letters to defend the use of inclusive language during her speech at the International Congress of the Spanish Language in 2019. Trying to regulate it is futile.

“Wanting to ban a language is like trying to hold filtered water,” he said after the Buenos Aires government’s announcement.

Acknowledging in his speech that we will only know if inclusive language “will be accepted by the Spanish language” “in the future,” Piñero also observed that obstacles will definitely exist. It has the opposite effect And young people prefer to use it.

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