hey i'm really curious about gender-neutral pronouns in different languages. english has "they", plus a bunch of different neopronouns. what do you use in your language?

(boosts would be great to cast a wider net on this, thx)

in Swedish we use "hen" which is meant to sound like the gendered "han" and "hon". it's a new word, but it got widely accepted pretty fast

@em I remember a bunch of English speakers thinking that "hen" was the word, translated into Swedish, that they were using and Americans were like UGH THAT iS A *FEMALE* CHICKEN

@em Well yeah, that was nicked from Finnish 'hän', which has been mentioned. :D

@em "hän" is the only 3rd-person pronoun, it's gender neutral

@toilet ooh, finnish right? my mom is from finland, but we don't speak finnish at all

@em yeah it's finnish, i didn't know you were swedish at all

@em I would also like to see this. I know how it works in French and German, but I'm not in touch with enough trans/NB people in those groups to know what's used

@gayhobbes @em in german we don't have widespread neutral pronouns yet. Ppl use "sier" for example.

@distel @gayhobbes @em Yeah, German is not great with gender-neutral anything.
It's not QUITE as bad as standard-French since in standard-German at least we have a word for "it", but still...
Most enbies I encounter use "es" ("it") or no pronouns at all.
I personally wouldn't mind just importing "they", and I find "sier" not for me, because I'm agender, not bigender (it's literally the words "she" and "he" mashed together) 😉

@Tobi @gayhobbes @em yeah, but "es" (it) is a pronoun used for animals and things, not a neutral human pronoun. and since queer people have been and still are dehumanized, I know some of them who have a problem using "it".
I also know the "no pronouns at all" preference, quite a few people I know use that.
other solutions include: change pronouns often, use the pronoun of the gender you were not assigned at birth (without passing as that gender) and importing "they".


#tokipona, while a constructed language, has specifically non-gendered pronouns.

First person: mi
Second person: sina
Third person: ona

@em In French we use 'iel', which is a mix of 'il' (he) and elle ('she'). It's a neologism that's pretty controversial

@stadion oh cool! i took french but we obviously never learned that

@stadion @em I first saw iel/iels on mastodon and thought 'omg this makes so much sense'. What is the controversial part, the standard 'this isn't how our language has worked for x centuries' line ?

@rubah It's pretty complicated, it's used mostly by activists and it isn't "part of the dictionary", plus the Académie Française which sets the rules for the French language advised against it so it's a very politically charged word

@stadion @rubah those were the same dumbfucks who suggested calling female cabinet ministers "Madame le ministre" though so they can get fucked

@em You may want to look at Tagalog (Filipino). My Filipina SO, when speaking English, gets a little confused by gendered pronouns. In Tagalog, daughter is "anak na babae", child who is female, anak has no gender. I am not fluent in the language, sadly

@acrata oh yeah i googled and it looks like tagalog doesn't have gendered pronouns

@em @acrata yup, Filipino/Tagalog speaker here, the third person pronoun siya (possessive kanya) is nongendered.

@em standard Spanish doesn't have them, but there are ongoing efforts to promote gender-neutral Spanish and I think 'elle' is the most common gender-neutral pronoun

@sigmaleph oh alright! the standard pronouns are el and ella, is that right?

@sigmaleph @em I doubt that will pick up except perhaps in writing. The standard way to be "neutral" in Spanish is "él o ella", but you can also often just use circumlocutions to avoid using a pronoun altogether. Spanish being pro-drop helps.

@JordiGH @sigmaleph sure, but i'm looking for gender-neutral pronouns specifically. "él o ella" excludes people who aren't he or she

@em @sigmaleph You'll have to make something up for Spanish, and as usual, expect some resistance.

Sorry for the example, but I was curious to see how the localisations for #FinalFantasy IX handled a genderless character. English did "s/he" throughout and other languages just picked a gender one way or another (Spanish picked "ella").

There just isn't much of a cultural framework to handle this in the Spanish-speaking world. I suspect most Hispanophones enbies have had to forcibly pick a side.

@JordiGH yeah most languages don't have a neutral pronoun traditionally (unless they only have neutral pronouns), that's why i asked. there are enough enbies that i'm sure something exists in most languages already, even if it isn't very commonly accepted yet

@JordiGH @em i am optimistic about the possibility of genuine gender-neutral Spanish, tho yes i am a Spanish-speaking enby who defaults to a binary gender grammatically (for complex reasons, not just the current lack of good alternatives)

@sigmaleph @em I haven't seen any of the artificial gender neutral pronouns for English pick up, and I've been paying attention since the mid 1990s. Only "they" seems to have any traction. I used to advocate Spivak pronouns which were the first I was exposed to and seemed easiest to me; "they" is next best thing.

Having to pick an artificial way in Spanish to inflect adjectives, pronouns, and participles for enbies makes me skeptical that the -e endings would pick up. Let's hope I'm wrong.

@em @sigmaleph I guess "ello" is neutral, but the neutral gender in Spanish only fits into certain syntactical categories, and is often confused with the morphologically similar masculine gender. This is when people are asked to consciously do a syntactic analysis; I'm not sure what people actually "perceive" naturally when they're not thinking about language.

For instance, we have some vestiges of animate gender in Spanish, and animate nouns cannot be neutral:

@em there's a few proposals for Spanish: l@s niñ@s, lⒶs niñⒶs, lxs niñxs and les niñes are all proposed alternatives with varying amounts of support; Japanese has no grammatical gender, so there the issue is more with gendered speech patterns than specific words

@jimpjorps hm ok, i think i've seen those written (at least l@s and lxs)

how would they be pronounced though?

@ElusiveConfection @em @jimpjorps although a lot of people in Argentina thinks its dumb and just laughs at the people who use it

@em there's a specific vowel sound that's recommended for the first three that's like halfway between a and o

@em @jimpjorps that's a mistery. I've never heard someone trying to pronounce that. it's easier to change the vowel for an e. or repeat the thing in both genders: los niños y las niñas.

@capybara @jimpjorps saying both doesn't really work here though, since it excludes people who aren't "he" or "she". using an e sound makes sense though!

@em @jimpjorps well, this is an active discussion right now. there's a lot of people who get uncomfortable when they read the x or @, others don't like the 'e', others insist that the masculine should remain as the neutral. there's no natural easy solution because everything has a gender (the objects, the adjectives, the verbs)... so any proposed solution is disruptive and everyone can't agree.

@em Mandarin Chinese doesn’t have the equivalent of Indo-European grammatical gender. There used to be no formal distinction in spoken & written language. The gendered 3rd.p. pronoun was a product of language contact & reform. They’re still homophones so spoken language remains neutral.

他 = he
她 = she
它 = it (only for non human beings)

They all sound the same.

In written language there are many ways to circumvent gendered pronouns.

@zoec @em iirc , the ta /ta gendering was a 20th century feminist intervention, because having no distinction was seen as erasure.

@em In Haitian Creole, "li" is he/she/they/it, for all people and things.

@em "iel" for French as I know (I'm not NB so maybe I miss some others)

@em it's actually my mother's language, but Hungarian only has one third person singular pronoun: ő

@em In Spanish the bigger problem is declension of nouns and adjectives, since they have an ending which indicates gender. So "amigas" are female friends, "amigos" are a potentially mixed-gender group, and "amigo" is a male friend. So we've tried out neodeclensions "amig@", "amigx", and "amigue", especially for mixed-gender groups. These are sufficiently socially deviant that some of us seek alternative locutions like "amistad". "Quiero mucho mis amistades"

@em In Spanish,
① nominative pronouns are optional and often omitted, and
② the dative, reflexive, and genitive forms of the usual pronouns don't decline for gender anyway.
That leaves the accusative ("la cogí" (f) vs. "lo cogí" (m)) and prepositional ("por ella" (f) vs. "por él" (m) vs. "por ello" (neuter left over from Latin, but only applicable to abstractions) vs. "por aquello" or "por eso" (neuter)). Neopronouns include "elle/ellx" (nominative/prepositional) and "le/lx" (accusative).

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