Being Non-Binary in a Language Without Gendered Pronouns – Estonian. I would prefer the gender-neutral pronoun ‘tema’ or my name. In my own family, it’s been difficult for most of them, though my friends, mother, and grandmother easily adjusted to using masculine pronouns to refer to me. Too many options can feel a bit creepy, and people may feel like … A gender neutral or gender inclusive pronoun is a pronoun which does not associate a gender with the individual who is being discussed. In my opinion, the language plays a pretty large role in how agender people feel about themselves, because [Russian] isn’t flexible enough for us. Generally, French pronouns don’t have a proper gender or number, they inherit from their referent. And some Republicans are predictably, ignorantly, unnecessarily mad about it. Some languages without noun class may have noun classifiers instead. “When I was using gender-neutral pronouns in English, it was almost impossible to get anyone who wasn’t in the queer community to use ‘they’ for me consistently. Genderless languages: Chinese, Estonian, Finnish, and other languages don’t categorize any nouns as feminine or masculine, and use the same word for he or she in regards to humans. But that’s maybe because the people I talk to in English are not native speakers. This was at an early stage of me asking them not to use ‘she’ (the pronoun I was ‘assigned’ at birth), so I think people were still getting used to the idea of any pronoun other than ‘she’ for me. “For example, in English, there are multiple nouns that I can use to classify myself (partner, student) without making reference to gender, whereas in German I’m supposed to say the feminine form of many common categories into which I fit, like student (Studentin), and have to explain myself when I refuse.” Faced with that level of discrimination, the use of pronouns can seem far down the list of priorities. Anybody can ask a question Anybody can answer The best answers are voted up and rise to the top Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered What is the possessive pronoun for a person whose gender we … It might be confusing, she says, but many languages don't have gender pronouns at all. This page was last edited on 12 January 2021, at 05:18. In English, these terms include they as a singular, ze/zir or zie/zir, ze/hir or other variations, and Mx. But I had the impression that people outside the queer world (not LGBT but ‘queer’ as in challenging gender binaries) had an even harder time with the idea of a gender-neutral pronoun than with the idea of someone ‘crossing’ gender lines (i.e. These are typically borrowed words like кафе (cafe) that do not take a masculine or feminine case. Story at a … This article lists languages depending on their approach to grammatical gender. Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, 1996. p.437, http://babel.ucsc.edu/~hank/105/Esperanto16.pdf, Biak: Description of an Austronesian Language of Papua, https://web.archive.org/web/20070904225112/http://www.latrobe.edu.au/rclt/StaffPages/aikhenvald%2Bdownloads/ClassifiersELL2published.pdf, https://scholar.harvard.edu/mpolinsky/files/Dyirbal.pdf, https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/data/UQ_11037/rpopt.pdf?Expires=1495704752&Signature=f5dJsIP1bJ4D3ICf4UTKiBehPDgx4Q8AUj~SIe4tL1-2n-fkAHl7fKtYDxYQ918mu0UUKM9OfGxw~DC3I-T~QRiGWHUhtl~RnJ4hH5TZNFO7RFouVpXeaBlRRd1fT0t8I7sTswoT9qjwZ3zqV3O-fGfOHUoblz4Aayl7U5IsPGK6sXpacpkketqOf~bXayFbg9C~kj~QJkm-naqsAdVeQkngzUw1~hymGbd2rNcVnGXxeq4g6S04aoF2idHVfE8JAlJ1ov6~MG83dp6BhqtRRzCxV396TyyUjc4AdHqUZrsvchvpYnjPBqNH5MKMfKD8CKGDG7Fgtf9fBgTAiBz2qg__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJKNBJ4MJBJNC6NLQ, https://www.africa.upenn.edu/NEH/rwlanguage.htm, "The Augment in Kirundi: When Syntax Meets Phonology", https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324224169_The_Ha_Language_of_Tanzania_Grammar_Texts_and_Vocabulary, "Difficult Languages: Tongue Twisters - In search of the world's hardest language", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_languages_by_type_of_grammatical_genders&oldid=999834645, Articles with unsourced statements from February 2019, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Gender (le genre) is an intrinsic characteristic of nouns : they are grammatically either masculine or feminine.. She also thinks this is why other gender-neutral pronouns like ze pronounced zee and its variations: zir, zem, and zeir, have not caught on in everyday language. So people would default to ‘she’, which was unbearable to me. Jan Bułhak – the Man Who Captured Turn-of-the-Century Vilnius, Photographic Notes on Latvia's Capital – Ģirts Raģelis, Copyright © 2021 Deep Baltic. By . Without my clarification, most people will picture a male CEO. Half of millennials in the United States think that gender isn’t limited to male and female, and in the U.S., Facebook offers 56 custom options to select for gender. Or what if just about every noun in your world was masculine or feminine—seemingly at random, like in Russian? These factors would be the reason for why it wasn't included on the list, sweilan1. Does Estonian offer a natural home for the nonbinary? Russian is a gendered language that does feature a neuter third-person pronoun, оно [it]. New reforms promote inclusion and diversity. If it seems like English-speakers are dissatisfied, the situation for speakers of gendered languages—which stipulate strict gender distinctions for both humans and objects—is far worse. In these languages, animate nouns are predominantly of common gender, while inanimate nouns may be of either gender. “We don’t have a gender-neutral pronoun [for people]… Agender people use feminine or masculine pronouns according to their personal preference. Lily’s book … Be ready for a complex answer . I prefer ‘they’ or ‘he’ in English, but I don’t usually say it to people unless they ask. in written forms. “I think after some time I’ll be able to do the same for myself [in Russian].”, It’s clear that, not surprisingly, natural gender and gendered languages pose problems for identity expression. Many Australian languages have a system of gender superclassing in which membership in one gender can mean membership in another. Polina Ravlyuk, a Russian blogger who runs an information portal on gender and gender identification, wrote to me in an email: Tosha also notes that there’s the option to use a plural pronoun when referring to agender people. It only takes a minute to sign up. In English when I use ‘they’ to refer to a person, most people don’t notice it. However, when the referent doesn’t exist (in the case of the nominal pronouns) or if it has an indefinite gender, then the pronoun takes his masculine form. It’s worth noting that the issue isn’t widely discussed [yet] in Russia, because in my opinion society isn’t ready to accept gender on a spectrum. Please consider making a monthly donation – help support our writers and in-depth coverage of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of languages: Even without considering the exclusionary effects of these strategies, they were the worst of the four, anyways. In Filipino, mostly Tagalog, we only use “siya” or “them” to refer to a person. “[S]peaking a gendered language as an agender person fuckin’ sucks. For example, Seroe Fioletovoe [Gray Violet]—a transgender Russian activist who is part of the artist collective Война [War], best known for spawning punk activists Pussy Riot—uses “оно” to describe themself. Some languages of the world (including most Austronesian languages, many East Asian languages, the Quechuan languages, and the Uralic languages [7]) do not have gender distinctions in personal pronouns, just as most of them lack any system of grammatical gender.In others, such as many of the Niger–Congo languages, there is a system of grammatical gender (or noun classes), but … I mean like in german,, sun is masculine, door is feminine, and grass is neutral. Like what Deep Baltic does? Free-form, optional gender pronoun field on Vox Media job application, including examples. I did see that there is a writing system for ASL, Dragon, but #1 writing isn't practiced that much, and #2 this article is pretty much based on spoken languages without gender pronouns. This pronoun is not typically applied to people; instead it is used only for objects with neuter noun names. © Deep Baltic 2018. If I can say in my language, “She (or ze) is the CEO,” I can draw attention to the fact that the term CEO is a false generic. That is because I am not really out as non-binary. All rights reserved. Key words: gender, gender-specific pronouns, gender-neutral pronouns, language, social identity. This binary reference of gender no longer applies to the increasing broadening nomenclature of gender identities and expressions. Transgender German respondent #98 added: “The options that English presents work reasonably well for me and I can express my gender identity and use preferred pronouns […]. There can also be situations where a woman can refer to herself in the masculine way grammatically and vice versa. That the language is very gendered is a big problem in my life.” [Image courtesy of Eesti keele õppimiseks]. You want to make it as simple as you can, so you don’t overwhelm users with options. Traditionally, many languages use gender binary pronouns and suffixes. Sign up to join this community. Natural gender languages: English is an example of this kind of language, which doesn’t categorize non-human, non-animal nouns into male or female categories. I do not mean pronouns like He, She, It. In Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, authors Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman emphasize the politics of language itself and of having “the agency to have our own words and definitions of them, and insist upon them to linguistic passers-by.” A natural gender language with a history of borrowed words, like English, has the flexibility to create pronouns to suit how a person feels inside. And notably, English as a language is mostly without grammatical gender). Because of the language barrier, that doesn’t feel unnatural for me, and besides, [i]n Russian almost all the verbs and adjectives have gender, and in English it’s not like that. What if you spoke a language that didn’t even have separate words for “him” or “her,” like Estonian? Everything, even objects as a singular, ze/zir or zie/zir, ze/hir or variations. Language in new rules for Congress grammatical gender which languages without gender pronouns unbearable to me new rules... 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