Gender neutral language

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Gender-neutral language, also called gender-inclusive language, is the practice of using words that don't give an idea of someone being female or male. For example, the word "fireman" gives the idea that a person in that work is male. An offer for a job as a "cleaning lady" gives the idea that only a woman should do the job. The gender-neutral alternatives are to say "fire fighter" and "janitor," respectively. Then it is easier to see that these jobs can be done by a person of any gender. Gender-neutral language is important in feminism, because changing the way that people talk can help make sexist ideas less common. For example, the sexist idea that some jobs should only be done by people of certain genders.

Gender-neutral language is also important to people who have non-binary gender identities. For one reason, this kind of talk helps fight against nonbinary erasure, which is the common but wrong and sexist idea that there are only two genders. Since gender-neutral language doesn't give the idea that a person is male or female, it can also apply to people who identify as other genders, outside of the gender binary. Non-binary people can ask to be talked about in this way.

Chinese

See also: Glossary of Chinese gender and sex terminology.


Dutch

Family terms

Parent

  • Ouder. Neutral, formal.

Child

  • Baby. Standard neutral word for very young offspring or very young people.
  • Jonkie. Standard neutral word for young people.
  • Kind. Standard gender neutral word for a young person or an offspring. Implied age isn't adult, but may be.
  • Kleintje. Literally "little one", neutral word for a very young child or young offspring.
  • Kleuter. Neutral word for child that is ~3 to ~6 years old.
  • Peuter. Neutral word for child that is ~1 to ~3 years old.
  • Tiener. Neutral word for a child that is ~10 to ~18 years old.


English

See also: Glossary of English gender and sex terminology.

English has grammatical gender, but only a vestige of what it once had. Old English once had grammatical gender for inanimate objects, but this practice started to disappear in the 700s, and vanished in the 1200s. The population of England at that time spoke several languages, and the same inanimate objects had different genders in those different languages. They may have stopped using that part entirely just to make it simpler. English stopped using grammatical gender for inanimate objects, but it still uses grammatical gender for people and personal pronouns.[1] There is enough to make a challenge for nonbinary people who don't want gendered language to be used for them.

Gender-neutral language has become common in English today largely thanks to the pioneering work by feminists Casey Miller and Kate Swift. During the 1970s, they began the work of encouraging inclusive language, as an alternative to sexist language that excludes or dehumanizes women. Miller and Swift wrote a manual on gender-neutral language, The Handbook of Nonsexist Writing (1980). Miller and Swift also proposed a set of gender-neutral pronouns, tey, although they later favored singular they, or he or she.[2] There are several books on gender-neutral English, such as Rosalie Maggio's book The Nonsexist Word Finder: A Dictionary of Gender-Free Usage (1989).

Much of the language that is often called gender-neutral has a problem: it's more than a little bit male. This is the problem that the gender-neutral he pronoun, "you guys," and similar kinds of language have in common. "Linguists call male terms used to include females androcentric generics."[3] Androcentric generics have several problems. It can be arbitrarily seen as either including women or excluding women depending on whims, which has made trouble for women when it happens in legal documents. It can also give the impression that someone is in some way male, which can be unclear or insulting to people of other genders.

Much of other gender-neutral language has a problem: it gives the idea that female and male are the only genders. For example, calling an unspecified person by he or she pronouns, a speaker addressing "ladies and gentlemen," an invitation saying "both genders welcome," and so on. Much of Western society thinks this is inclusive enough, because it doesn't know there are other genders. This language excludes nonbinary people, who would prefer an unspecified person to be called "they" rather than "he or she," would prefer a speaker to address "the audience," and an invitation saying "all genders welcome."

This is a list of both standard (dictionary) and non-standard (created) terms and pronouns to include nonbinary identities. It should be noted that while some are genderless or third gender, others are multigender. Terms will be marked with the implied gender identity when possible.

Pronouns

See main article at Pronouns.

Titles

See main article at Gender neutral titles.

Family and relationship words

See also: family and intimacy.

Parent

Parents as in the formal words mother or father, or the informal mama or dada. Gender-neutral and gender-inclusive words for a parent of any gender, or non-standard specifically nonbinary, queer, or genderqueer words. A list in alphabetical order.

  • Baba. "Neutral, based on mama and dada. (Note, baba means dad in some languages and grandmother in others.)"[4]
  • Bibi. "Queer, based on the B in NB [nonbinary], similar to mama and papa/dada."[5]
  • Cenn. "Neutral, short for cennend," which see.[6]
  • Cennend. "Neutral, Old English (Anglo-Saxon) meaning parent."[7]
  • Dommy. "Queer, mixture of mommy and daddy (note: sounds like Dom/me, a BDSM term)."[8]
  • Mada. Queer, mixture of mama and dad.
  • Maddy. "Queer, mixture of mummy/mommy and daddy."[9]
  • Moddy. "Queer, mixture of mommy and daddy."[10]
  • Muddy. "Queer, mixture of mummy and daddy."[11]
  • Nini. "Queer, based on the N in NB, similar to mama and papa/dada."[12]
  • Non. Follows a similar pattern (CvC) to Mom or Dad, could be short for "nonbinary". Variation Nonny for use with young children, similar to Mommy or Daddy.
  • Par. "Neutral, short for parent."[13]
  • Parent. "Neutral, formal."[14]
  • Parental Unit (PU). Neutral, informal, humorous, possibly disrespectful. Used by the alien family in Coneheads, and taken up by popular culture.[15]
  • Per. "Neutral, short for parent."[16] (See also: per pronouns and Pr title.)
  • Zaza. "Queer, based on mama and papa/dada."[17]
  • Zither. "Queer, based on mother and father. (Note, zither is also the name of a musical instrument.)"[18]

Child

Some of these gender-inclusive or gender-queer words refer only to relationship (as in daughter, son, or offspring), others only to age (girl, boy, or young one), and some to both (children). Alphabetical order.

  • Baby. Standard neutral word for very young offspring or very young people.
  • Bitsy. Non-standard genderqueer term for a very young person.[19]
  • Charge. Standard gender neutral word for a person in the care of another, often one's child.
  • Child. Standard gender neutral word for a young person or an offspring. Implied age isn't adult, but may be.
  • Dependent. A person who relies on another-- usually a family member who may or may not be their parent-- for financial support; this is most often used as a standard gender-neutral word for a child too young to work. Formal.
  • Enby. From "NB (nonbinary)", a nonbinary equivalent of the words "boy" and "girl." However, some adults call themselves enbies.
  • Get. Poetic language for offspring.
  • Kid. Standard informal gender neutral term for young children or young offspring.
  • Little one. Neutral word for a very young child or young offspring.
  • Minor. Standard gender-neutral word for a person under the legal age of consent.
  • Nesser. Non-standard genderqueer term for "daughter/son".[20]
  • Offspring. Neutral, standard word, but not usually used for people, except in legal language.
  • Oldest. Neutral, a way of speaking of one's offspring by saying "my oldest," rather than saying "my daughter/son."[21]
  • Sprog. Neutral, crude word for a young person.[22]
  • Youth. Neutral, poetic word for a young person, but usually implied to be male.
  • Young. Neutral, standard word for offspring, but not usually used for people ("my young.")
  • Youngest. Neutral, a way of speaking of one's offspring by saying "my youngest," rather than saying "my daughter/son."[23]
  • Young one. Neutral, poetic.
  • Young person. Neutral, standard, formal.
  • Ward. Standard gender-neutral word for a person, usually a child, under the care of an adult, who may or may not be their parent. Formal.

Aunt/Uncle

Standard English doesn't have a gender neutral word for one's parent's sibling. People have created some words to fill this lexical gap, but they are still uncommon words. Alphabetical order.

  • Auncle. "Queer, combination of aunt and uncle."[24]
  • Bibi. "Queer, based on the B in NB [nonbinary], similar to Titi/Zizi."[25]
  • Cousin. "Neutral, as sometimes people say aunt/uncle for parents’ cousins, or much older cousins."[26]
  • Nini. "Queer, based on the N in NB, similar to Titi/Zizi."[27]
  • Ommer. Non-standard genderqueer term for "aunt/uncle".
  • Pibling. "Neutral, your parent’s sibling."[28]
  • Titi. "Neutral, from the Spanish for Aunt (Tia) and Uncle (Tio). (however, it is often a diminutive of aunt.)"[29]
  • Zizi. "Neutral, from the Italian for Aunt (Zia) and Uncle (Zio). (Note: zizi is also a French children’s ‘cute’ word for penis.)"[30]
  • Untie/Unty. "Queer, combination of uncle and auntie/aunty."[31]

Niece/Nephew

Standard English doesn't have a gender neutral word for one's sibling's child. People have created some words to fill this lexical gap, but they are still uncommon words. Alphabetical order.

Grandparent

Gender-neutral or genderqueer words for grandparent. Alphabetical order.

  • Bibi. "Queer, based on the B in NB, similar to nana and papa."[38]
  • Grandparent. "Neutral, formal."[39]
  • Grandwa. "Queer, based on grandma and grandpa."[40]
  • Grandy.' "Neutral, short for Grandparent, Grandma or Grandpa."[41]
  • Nini. "Queer, based on the N in NB, similar to nana and papa."[42]

Sibling

Gender-neutral or genderqueer words for sibling. Alphabetical order.

  • Emmer. Non-standard genderqueer term for sibling.
  • Sib. Short for sibling. Equivalent of bro or sis.
  • Sibling. Standard gender neutral term for sister or brother.
  • Sibster. "Queer, combination of sibling and sister."[43]
  • Sibter. "Queer, combination of sibling and brother."[44]

Partner

Gender-inclusive or genderqueer words for tentative romantic and sexual partners (as in girlfriend, boyfriend, or date) as well as permanent ones (as in wife, husband, or spouse).

Date

Gender-neutral and genderqueer words for a non-committed relationship, such as boyfriend, girlfriend, or date. Alphabetical order.

  • Birlfriend. "Queer, mix of boyfriend and girlfriend."[45] Birl is also a particular gender identity.
  • Boifriend. "Queer, boi is a particular gender identity."[46]
  • Boo. From "beau". Originated as African American slang, but now used more widely.
  • Bothfriend. "Queer, for bigender or androgynous people."[47]
  • Boygirlfriend. "Queer, for bigender or androgynous people."[48]
  • Cuddle Buddy. "Neutral, cheesy."[49]
  • Date. "Neutral, the person you are dating."[50]
  • Datefriend. "Neutral, the person you are dating, but fitting the boyfriend/girlfriend pattern."[51]
  • Datemate. "Neutral, a rhyming version of datefriend, the person you are dating."[52]
  • Enbyfriend. "Queer, based on boyfriend and girfriend. (note: enby comes from NB, non-binary)."[53]
  • Feyfriend. Queer, due to the implications of "fey."[54]
  • Genderfriend. "Queer, based on boyfriend and girlfriend."[55]
  • Girlboyfriend. "Queer, for bigender or androgynous people."[56]
  • Lover. "Neutral, often implies sexual relationship, but simply refers to someone you love/who loves you."[57]
  • [name]friend. "Queer, based on girlfriend and boyfriend."[58]
  • Paramour. "Neutral, someone you are having a sexual relationship with."[59]
  • Personfriend. "Neutral, leaning towards queer, based on boyfriend and girlfriend."[60]
  • Sweetie. "Neutral, slightly cheesy."[61]
  • Sweetheart. "Neutral, cheesy or old-fashioned."[62]
Significant other

Gender-neutral and genderqueer words for a girlfriend, boyfriend, or partner in a committed relationship. Alphabetical order.

  • Beloved. Neutral, one who one loves.
  • Birlfriend. "Queer, mix of boyfriend and girlfriend."[63] Birl is also a particular gender identity.
  • Boifriend. "Queer, boi is a particular gender identity."[64]
  • Bothfriend. "Queer, for bigender or androgynous people."[65]
  • Boygirlfriend. "Queer, for bigender or androgynous people."[66]
  • Companion. "Neutral, reference to Doctor Who’s companions, or Firefly’s Companions."[67]
  • Cuddle Buddy. "Neutral, cheesy."[68]
  • Enbyfriend. "Queer, based on boyfriend and girfriend. (note: enby comes from NB, non-binary)."[69]
  • Feyfriend. Queer, due to the implications of "fey."[70]
  • Genderfriend. "Queer, based on boyfriend and girlfriend."[71]
  • Girlboyfriend. "Queer, for bigender or androgynous people."[72]
  • Imzadi. "Neutral, from Star Trek, a Betazed word similar to beloved."[73]
  • Loveperson. "Neutral, a person that you love."[74]
  • [name]friend. "Queer, based on girlfriend and boyfriend."[75]
  • Other Half. "Neutral, informal, and implies monogamy."[76]
  • Paramour. "Neutral, someone you are having a sexual relationship with."[77]
  • Partner. Neutral, but often queer.
  • Personfriend. "Neutral, leaning towards queer, based on boyfriend and girlfriend."[78]
  • Significant Other (S.O.). "Neutral, quite formal."[79] Implies monogamy.
  • Soul Mate. "Neutral, slightly cheesy, implies belief in soul mates."[80] Implies monogamy.
  • Steady. "Neutral, as in 'going steady' or 'steady girlfriend/boyfriend'."[81] Implies monogamy.
  • Sweetie. "Neutral, slightly cheesy."[82]
  • Sweetheart. "Neutral, cheesy or old-fashioned."[83]
Fiancée/Fiancé

In addition to the above list of words for significant other.

  • Betrothed. "Neutral, formal."[84] Usually means an arranged marriage.
Spouse

In addition to the above list of words for significant other.

  • Spouse. "Standard, neutral, formal."[85]

Other family relationships

Gender-neutral and genderqueer words for other kinds of family relationships.

  • Godparent. Standard gender neutral term for godfather or godmother.
  • Grandchild. Standard gender neutral term for grandson or granddaughter.

Professions

  • Bar tender. Standard gender neutral term for barman or barmaid.
  • Business person. Standard gender neutral term for businessman or businesswoman.
  • Clergy member. Standard gender neutral term for clergyman, priest, priestess, and many religious titles.
  • Cowhand. Standard gender neutral term for cowboy or cowgirl.
  • Heroix. Proposed nonbinary equivalent to hero or heroine that specifies an individual doing heroic work is nonbinary.
  • Horse rider. Standard gender neutral term for horseman or horsewoman.
  • Minister. Standard gender neutral term for priest or priestess.
  • Monarch. Standard gender neutral term for a king or queen.
  • Monarch's heir. Gender neutral term for a prince or princess.
  • Prime. Derived from Latin. Gender Neutral term for a prince or princess.
  • Princette. Queer, based on the Prince/ess ending. Gender Neutral term for a prince or princess.
  • Princexx/Princex/Prinx Other gender neutral terms for Prince/Princess/Royalty incorporating the letter x; a common indicator of gender neutral language
  • Royalty. Standard. Usually refers to a family but can be used as a Gender Neutral term for a prince/princess or a king/queen.
  • Noble. A nobleman/noblewoman, lord/lady, prince/princess, duke/duchess, or many other noble ranks that lack specific gender neutral titles.
  • Pilot. Standard gender neutral term for aviator or aviatrix.
  • Police officer Standard gender neutral term for policeman or policewoman.
  • Server. Standard gender neutral term for a person who provides items to customers, such as a "waiter/waitress" or "steward/stewardess".

Descriptions

  • Attractive. Gender neutral term equally applicable to "handsome" or "beautiful" individuals. Implies the speaker experiences some form of attraction, so might not be suitable for people who are aromantic or asexual.
  • Gorgeous. Gender neutral alternative to "handsome" or "beautiful," but tends to be feminine.
  • Youthful. Gender neutral alternative to "boyish" or perhaps "girlish," but tends to be masculine.

Deity titles

  • Absolute Being. Standard term for a monotheistic deity, without implied gender.
  • Almighty. Standard term for a monotheistic deity, without implied gender.
  • Creator. Standard term for a deity who created the world and/or humankind.
  • Deity. Standard gender neutral term for a god or goddess.
  • Divine, the. Common gender neutral term for a deity or supernatural forces.
  • Divine being. Common gender neutral term for a deity or supernatural entity.
  • God. Standard gender neutral term for a god or goddess, but tends to be presumed male.
  • Goddex. "Queer, based on the God/dess ending."[86]
  • Goddette. "Queer, based on the God/ess ending."[87]
  • Goddeq. "Queer, based on the God/ess ending."[88]
  • Heavens, the. Common gender neutral term for a deity, deities, or supernatural forces.
  • Higher Power. Standard gender neutral term for a deity, deities, or supernatural forces.
  • Liege. Neutral equivalent of lord or lady.
  • Powers that be. Common gender neutral term for a god, goddess, or similar supernatural beings or forces.
  • Ruler. Neutral equivalent of lord or lady.
  • Sovereign. Neutral equivalent of lord or lady.
  • Wild Divine, the. New Age name for God, Goddess, or primal supernatural forces.

Other terms

  • Fanenby. Queer, using enby after fanboy or fangirl.[89]
  • Fankid. Neutral, after fanboy or fangirl.
  • Wedding usher. Neutral, alternative to bridesmaid or groomsman.

French

See also: Glossary of French gender and sex terminology.


German

See also: Glossary of German gender and sex terminology.

Nouns, Adjectives etc.

Asterisk, Underscore, Punctuation

Pronounced as a pause or glottal stop. In between "feminine" and "masculine" ending, the most common version:

  • mein_e beste*r Freund:in

Either after the stem - or more realistically at the next best place that has nothing to do with feminine/masculine forms but makes sense for pronunciation:

  • mei:ne bes_ter Freun*din

At random places:

  • mei*ne best:er Freundi_n

Can be used consistently or mixed up like in the example above.


X[90]

Pronounced like iks.[91]

  • meinx bestx Freundx

(or e.g. Befreunx to avoid basing it on the masculine form) Or wite it as -iks.

  • meiniks bestiks Freundiks

Shortened Words and Nonsense Forms[92]

Fairly well known -i words:

  • der_die Studi, dix Touri

New words by the same pattern:

  • dier Mitbewohni, der*die Kollegi

Use the short -i forms or make up new endings and treat the word as neutrum.

  • mein bestes Freundi
  • mein liebes Mitbewohnsi

Use -mensch, -menschi, -person:

  • das Postmenschi
  • meine Liebhabperson
  • der liebe Katzenbetreu-Mensch

Or just random words that you think are cute.

  • Ich will Fotografierflausch werden.

Pronouns

See main article at Pronouns#German_neutral_pronouns.

Titles

Instead of Frau/Herr

  • Frann[93] - nonstandard
  • Ind.[94] von "Individuum", nonstandard
  • Mau[95] - nonstandard
  • Per - nonstandard

Professional & Academic Titles

  • Doctorx[96] - nonstandard
  • Professorx[97] - nonstandard
  • Professx[98], abgekürzt Prof. oder Profx. - nonstandard

Family terms

Parent

  • Elter - nonstandard, will sound awkward but be recognised
  • Mapa - nonstandard
  • Pama - nonstandard

Child

  • Enbie, Enby - instead of Mädchen/Junge/Bub, nonstandard
  • Großes - standard
  • Kind - standard
  • Kleines - standard

Aunt/Uncle

  • Tankel - nonstandard

Niece/Nephew

  • Nibling - nonstandard

Grandparent

  • Großelter - nonstandard, will sound awkward but be understood

Sibling

  • Bruderin, Bruder*in - nonstandard
  • Brüderin, Brüder*in - nonstandard
  • das Geschwister - nonstandard, will sound awkward but be understood
  • Geschwisterchen - standard, but old fashioned and usually used for very young siblings
  • der/mein Schwester - nonstandard

Partner

  • Freund*in
  • Herzmensch
  • Liebschaft
  • Partner*in


Hindi

See also: Glossary of Hindi gender and sex terminology.


Japanese

See also: Glossary of Japanese gender and sex terminology.


Korean

See also: Glossary of Korean gender and sex terminology.


Portuguese

See also: Glossary of Brazilian Portuguese gender and sex terminology, and Glossary of European Portuguese gender and sex terminology.


Russian

See also: Glossary of Russian gender and sex terminology.

Unlike English, Russian has three grammatical genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. While neuter allows some non-binary people adjectives to use, this gender is not ideal for non-binary people for grammatical reasons. The first is that most neuter nouns decline like masculine nouns. The second is that neuter animate nouns do not change in the accusative case, while both masculine and feminine nouns do. This implies that people using neuter words are not human.


Titles

госпожне Plural is "госпожня". Grammatical gender is neutral, and while in the singular it takes endings similar to the masculine.

Family Terms

-евче and -овче In Russian, rather than middle names, children have patronyms, or their father's first name with -евич/-ович (for boys) or -евна/-овна (for girls) added to the end. -евче and -овче are genderqueer endings for one's patronym. Alternatives include -евчен/-овчен (agender), -еви/-ови (multigender) and more.


Spanish

See also: Glossary of Spanish gender and sex terminology.

Spanish has two grammatical genders, masculine and feminine. Like other Romance languages, it's very difficult to talk about a person in a gender-neutral way. This is because every adjective, noun, and article are all either masculine or feminine. It's difficult or even impossible to be completely gender-neutral in standard Spanish. However, feminists, LGBT people, and other activists today have made ideas for how to speak Spanish in a gender-neutral way when necessary. For example, it's now common for people to write "Latinx" or "Latin@" as a gender-inclusive version of "Latino" and "Latina". For more information, see Wikipedia's article: Gender neutrality in Spanish and Portuguese.

Letter substitution

In Spanish, many nouns and adjectives end in either a masculine -o or a feminine -a. These same letters are also used in the grammatical gender of the definite articles. For example, niño bueno ("good boy") and niña buena ("good girl"); los amigos ("the friends," if the group has at least one man, or isn't known to be all women, although this can be used in a gender-neutral sense) and las amigas ("the friends," but only if the group is all women). Many people who want gender-neutral options for Spanish have had ideas for substituting these letters with something else that would make a word gender-neutral. These non-standard proposed alternatives are:

  • @. In this use, the "at" symbol is meant to look like a mix of a masculine o and a feminine a letters.[99][100][101] For example: niñ@ buen@ ("good child"), l@s amig@s ("the friends" with no assumptions about their genders), Latin@ ("Latino/Latina"). It can be pronounced as "ao".[102] It's one of the most commonly used in this list. It would go with the proposed neutral pronoun ell@.[103]
  • æ. The "AE" character stands for an alternative to the O and A. For example: niñæ buenæ, læs amigæs, Latinæ. It can go with the proposed neutral pronoun ellæ.[104]
  • . The anarchy symbol happens to look like a mix of an O and A, and some radical political writings use it in their place, in the sense of rebellion against gender roles and other oppressive aspects of society.[105] For example: niñⒶ buenⒶ, lⒶs amigⒶs, LatinⒶ. Like the more common @, this would also be pronounced "ao".
  • e. The letter E represents an alternative to the O and A.[106] For example: niñe buene, les amigues, Latine. Many nouns and adjectives already end in -e, so it can sound natural to create new -e versions. A few words would need spelling changes to keep the pronunciation the same: if the E comes after a C, the C becomes "qu" (chico – chique); after G, it becomes "gu" (gallego – gallegue).[107] The neutral E would go with with the proposed neutral pronouns elle or ele.[108][109]
  • i. The letter I is a substitute for O and A. For example: niñi bueni, lis amigi, Latini. This would go with the proposed neutral pronoun elli.[110]
  • u. The letter U is a substitute for O and A.[111] For example: niñu buenu, lus amigus, Latinu. This would go with the proposed neutral pronoun ellu.[112]
  • x. The letter X represents the absence of either O or A.[113][114][115] It's one of the most commonly used in this list, and is intuitive in writing, but can't be pronounced. For example: niñx buenx, lxs amigxs, Latinx. This would go with the proposed neutral pronoun ellx. Note that, unlike English coinages such as "princex," which is only for people of color, a neutral x in Spanish is not only for people of color. "Ellx" can be used by white people as well.[116]

Articles

Standard Spanish articles have binary gender as well as number. The indefinite articles are un, unos, una, unas. The definite articles are el, los, la, las. People have come up with some gender-neutral alternatives to these.

Standard Spanish singular indefinite articles: un, una plural definite articles: unos, unas singular definite articles: el, la plural definite articles: los, las
@ letter substitution  ?  ? l@ l@s
e letter substitution une[117] unes[118] le. This creates a homonym for the masculine indirect object pronoun, le.[119][120] les. Also a homonym for the plural masculine indirect object pronoun, les.[121][122]
i letter substitution uni? unis? li lis
x letter substitution  ?  ? lx? lxs
miscellaneous other alternatives ol[123] oles[124]

Personal pronouns

See main article: Spanish neutral pronouns.

Non-binary articles and pronouns

-le or ele and les, elles While "le" and "les" are already used as indirect object pronouns, in these cases they cover all genders. The use of "le" as a direct object pronoun or "ele" as a pronoun match the -e ending. "Ele" could turn into "elles" just as "él" becomes "ellos" and "ella" becomes "ellas".
-ol and oles (articles, objects), ól and olles (pronouns) Agender indicators.

Nouns

In Spanish, every noun is either female or male. None have a truly "neuter" grammatical gender. There are some kinds of nouns that come close to being gender-neutral in some ways: epicene nouns, common gender nouns, ambiguous gender nouns, and newly-made neutral or genderqueer nouns.

Epicene nouns

Some words, regardless of their own grammatical gender, are used for men and women alike, without changing the word's ending. Its article stays the same, too. (However, when these nouns are used for women, it's now acceptable in standard Spanish to optionally change to the feminine article.) These words are epicene (epiceno). This is the closest that standard Spanish gets to gender neutral language.

Some signs that a word is epicene:

  • Some words that end in -o or -a are epicene, you can't tell by looking at them. Also, be warned that some nouns ending in -a are only for men, such as cura, "priest".
  • Words with the epicene -ista ending, which is used for occupations and people who do things. This is with the exception of modisto, "male fashion designer".

A list of some epicene nouns in conventional Spanish:

  • ciclista = cyclist
  • el cliente = client, but a female client can be la clienta.
  • el dentista = dentist of any gender, but a female dentist can be la dentista.
  • el especialista = specialist
  • el estudiante = student of any gender, but a female student can be la estudiante.
  • el esposo = spouse. This is masculine and can mean husband, but it can also mean a spouse of any gender.
  • la jefe = chef of any gender, but a female chef is la jefa.
  • el padre = parent. This is masculine and can mean father, but it can also mean a parent of any gender. "Tengo dos padres" can mean "I have two parents" or "I have two fathers."
  • la persona = person
  • el personaje = personage
  • turista = tourist
  • la víctima = victim.

Common gender nouns

There are also words with a "common gender" (común), meaning that the word itself stays the same whether it's applied to a man or woman, but its article changes gender to match the binary gender of the person to whom it is applied.

Some signs a noun is common gender:

  • Many end in -e, in standard Spanish.
  • Some end in -o or -a, so they look masculine or feminine.

A list of some common gender nouns in conventional Spanish:

  • el/la atacante = attacker
  • el/la espía = spy
  • el/la estudiante = student
  • el/la mártir = martyr
  • el/la presidente = president
  • el/la testigo = witness
  • el/la violinista = violinist

Ambiguous gender nouns

Some words in Spanish aren't consistent in what grammatical gender they have. They've been used as feminine or masculine words depending on the place and time period. They may have one conventional version, plus an alternative gender that is used poetically or in archaic language. These words are rare. There are only about a hundred of them. They still mean the same thing even when their gender changes. (Unlike, say, la cometa "kite" and el cometa "comet.") They're called ambiguous nouns (nombres ambíguos en cuanto al género).

New nouns

People have created new, non-standard nouns. Some are gender-inclusive (can be used for men, women, and nonbinary people). Some are only for people who identify as nonbinary or genderqueer.

One non-standard method for forming gender-inclusive and nonbinary nouns is by letter substitution, which is described above. This creates words such as:

  • abuel@ or abuele = grandfather/grandmother/grandparent
  • espos@, espose = husband/wife/spouse
  • herman@, hermane = brother/sister/sibling
  • niñ@, niñe = boy/girl/child
  • novi@, novie = boyfriend/girlfriend/datemate


Swedish

A symbol of Swedish female, male, and neutral pronouns.

See also: Glossary of Swedish gender and sex terminology.

Traditionally, the word den has been used as a gender neutral pronoun and remains widely used today. However, depending on the context, the word den can also mean it leaving it unsatisfactory as a gender neutral pronoun for many who do not wish to be seen as comparable to an inanimate object. Since the 1960s, the person pronoun hen has become increasingly popular and will, in 2015, be added for the first time to Svenska Akademiens Ordlista (the Swedish equivalent to France's Dictionnaire de l'Académie française). It usage, however, remains somewhat contraversial and is vigorously opposed by some.

Pronouns

hen Standard gender neutral / third gender personal pronoun
hens Possive form of hen
henom Object form of hen

The object form of hen is sometimes just hens. It is very individual.


Thai

See also: Glossary of Thai gender and sex terminology.


External links

References

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