5 Tips To Use Gender-Inclusive Language In Spanish

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iScribo advocates the use of inclusive language in all areas. Today we give you 5 tips for using gender-inclusive language in Spanish without making mistakes.

Spanish is a sexist language. Just like that. English is fortunate to be a language in which gender is not an issue.

It is not our fault that society evolved in that direction. We have been speaking Spanish for centuries and the formation of the language took place in masculine spheres and gender-neutral language was never used before.

While it is true that the RAE is very conservative when it comes to the evolution of Spanish, there are things we could do to adapt the language to the present and make it inclusive so that it represents the whole of society.

iScribo tells you how you can contribute to adapting the language by using gender-inclusive language without making mistakes.

1. Avoid made-up words

Almost everyone wants to use inclusive language, but this does not mean that we have to disrespect the Spanish language.

Todes (everyone), the use of @ or X is not an option, we have other alternatives.

The example is ‘We are all going to the party’:

Nos vamos a presentar todes en la fiesta.

Nos vamos a presentar tod@s en la fiesta.

Nos vamos a presentar todxs en la fiesta.

Instead, we can say:

Nos vamos a presentar en la fiesta al completo.

Nos vamos a presentar en la fiesta en conjunto.

2. Avoid gendered words

It is not the same to say los vecinos (the neighbours, masculine word in Spanish) as el vecindario (the neighbourhood, neutral word). We must use neutral words, even if we have to use other resources:

Let’s be creative in using inclusive language:

Seamos creativos para usar el lenguaje inclusivo.

 ✓ Recurramos a la creatividad para usar el lenguaje inclusivo.

We are very tired after the race:

Estamos muy cansados tras la carrera.

  ✓ El cansancio nos puede tras la carrera.

Sometimes it is enough to change an adjective or an adverb into a noun.

3. Try to lighten the discourse

In order not to use sexist language, many people resort to the heavy language of naming nouns, adjectives, and adverbs in both masculine and feminine, when in fact it would be enough to use a word that designates the collective:

            The students went out to the playground:

Los alumnos y las alumnas salieron al patio.

  ✓ El alumnado salió al patio.

4. Break down stereotypes

There are words that have become sexist throughout history, especially for professions such as a nurse, cleaner, and so on. Spanish nursing unions claim that the word nurse defines both the masculine and the feminine, but we can always use other resources:

Profesionales de enfermería (nursing professionals).

Colectivo de limpieza (cleaning collective).

5. Avoid using masculine pronouns

This is usually the case with masculine demonstrative pronouns: aquel, estos, etcetera. We can use quien or quienes instead:

Those who want to come, let them come:

Aquellos que quieran venir, que vengan.

  ✓ Quienes quieran venir, que vengan.

Miembras (members) and generalas (generals)

Sometimes, especially in politics, we tend to use inclusive language incorrectly. It happened to a Spanish minister back in 2008 in a notorious case: in the middle of Congress she said miembros y miembras (miembras doesn’t exist).

In the army, too, there are those who have said la generala (it doesn’t exist either) instead of la general. Let’s not forget that there are common nouns in terms of gender!

It may sound forced, but by using inclusive language, we will normalise it and it will become natural in our lives.

We also recommend that you read style guides from official or linguistic bodies. You are sure to learn a lot, as well as with our grammar checker, which helps you to use inclusive language correctly.

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