As we continually search for ways to improve gender inclusivity in Spanish, we have come up with a myriad of broad language such as Latino/a and Latin@. The most recent of these solutions is the term “Latinx.” In our opinion, the use of the identifier “Latinx” as the new standard should be discouraged because it is a buzzword that fails to address any of the problems within Spanish on a meaningful scale. This position is controversial to some members of the Latino community here at Swarthmore and beyond, but the other positions within the community also deserve to be heard. We are Latinos, proud of our heritage, that were raised speaking Spanish. We are not arguing against gender-inclusive language. We have no prejudice towards non-binary people. We see, however, a misguided desire to forcibly change the language we and millions of people around the world speak, to the detriment of all. Under the “degenderization” of Spanish advocated by proponents of words such as “Latinx” words such as latinos, hermanos, and niños would be converted into latinxs, hermanxs, and niñxs respectively. This is a blatant form of linguistic imperialism — the forcing of U.S. ideals upon a language in a way that does not grammatically or orally correspond with it.
The term “Latinx” is used almost exclusively within the United States. According to Google trend data, “Latinx” came into popular use in October of 2014 and has since been widely popularized by American blogs and American institutions of higher education. The term is virtually nonexistent in any Spanish-speaking country. This is problematic for many reasons. It serves as a prime example of how English speakers can’t seem to stop imposing their social norms on other cultures. It seems that U.S. English speakers came upon Spanish, deemed it too backwards compared to their own progressive leanings, and rather than working within the language to address any of their concerns, “fixed” it from a foreign perspective that has already had too much influence on Latino and Latin American culture. The vast majority of people in Latin America from personal experience, would likely be confused and even offended by this attempt to dictate for them how their language is to be structured and how they ought to manage their social constructs. It is interesting to observe how many “Latinx” activists become outraged when a non-Latino person wears traditional Latino costumes such as sombreros without understanding the significance of what they are wearing when they themselves participate in a form of reverse appropriation. To be clear – this is not to say these Latinos are detached from the culture, but rather taking American ideals and social beliefs and inserting into a language that has widespread use in places outside of the U.S. Rather than taking from a culture or people a part of them without respect or reverence for it, this reverse appropriation aims to put into a culture a part of one’s own beliefs. This is not the forced and unwarranted taking of culture but rather the forced and unnecessary giving of incompatible segments of U.S. culture.
Perhaps the most ironic failure of the term is that it actually excludes more groups than it includes. By replacing o’s and a’s with x’s, the word “Latinx” is rendered laughably incomprehensible to any Spanish speaker without some fluency in English. Try reading this “gender neutral” sentence in Spanish: “Lxs niñxs fueron a lx escuelx a ver sus amigxs.” You literally cannot, and it seems harmless and absurd until you realize the broader implication of using x as a gender neutral alternative. It excludes all of Latin America, who simply cannot pronounce it in the U.S. way. It does not provide a gender-neutral alternative for Spanish-speaking non-binary individuals and thus excludes them. It excludes any older Spanish speakers who have been speaking Spanish for more than 40 years and would struggle to adapt to such a radical change. It effectively serves as an American way to erase the Spanish language. Like it or not, Spanish is a gendered language. If you take the gender out of every word, you are no longer speaking Spanish. If you advocate for the erasure of gender in Spanish, you then are advocating for the erasure of Spanish.
What then, is the solution if not “Latinx”? It may surprise you to learn that a gender-neutral term to describe the Latin-American community already exists in Spanish. Ready for it? Here it is: Latino. Gender in Spanish and gender in English are two different things. Even inanimate objects are given gendered -o/s and -a/s endings, although it is inherently understood that these objects are not tied to the genders assigned to them. In Spanish, when referencing groups, we only use the feminine ending when referring to an exclusively female group. On the other hand, when we refer to groups using the masculine ending, the group could either be exclusively males or a mix of people. For example, when someone says “los cubanos” an English speaker may instinctively interpret this as “the male Cubans,” but a Spanish speaker simply hears “the Cubans.” In fact, the only way to refer to a group that is not exclusively female in Spanish is by using the masculine ending. Therefore, according to the grammatical rules of Spanish, the term “Latinos” is already all-inclusive in terms of gender. For those that want the singular form of “Latino” without the association with gender, alternate forms exist — one can state their ancestry (“soy de Cuba/Mexico/Venezuela/etc”) or “soy de Latinoamerica”. Ultimately, the problem here is that “Latinx” does not fit within Spanish, and never will. X as a letter at the ends of words in Spanish is unpronounceable, not conjugatable, and frankly confusing. These alternate options both respect those on the non-binary spectrum and respect the dignity of the Spanish language.
We understand that some people may still support the term “Latinx”. Ultimately, we will never attempt to force anyone to personally define themselves in any way. If after reading this article anyone still feels that calling themselves “Latinx” instead of any other term brings them more happiness, we will respect that choice. However, we are strongly opposed to and cannot support this particular terminology becoming the new norm or creeping any further into a language it does not belong in. Some may be put off by gender in Spanish. But we are offended by the attempted degradation of our language at the hands of a foreign influence. “Latinx” undoubtedly stems from good intentions but is ultimately also clearly representative of a poorly thought out and self-defeating execution as well as a lack of respect for the sovereignty of Spanish.
The authors of this article seem to be unfamiliar with what “cultural imperialism” means. I advise them in the future not to rely on using this concept to justify their claims to linguistic superiority and purity.
Latinx is another bad term. While the term avoids the gender-specific meanings of Latino & Latina, the ‘Latin’ root originated in the idea that their countries’ languages developed from Latin — thus erasing the advanced indigenous cultures that preceded the invasion & conquest by Spain.
A: Because “Hispanic” would traditionally be translated as a gender-specific term “Hispano” or “Hispana”, among other reasons. You obviously are completely unfamiliar with Spanish language conventions.
The fact you suggest “Hispanic” as a substitute for “Latino” also reveals you are unaware of the controversy surrounding the use of “Hispanic” to refer to the Spanish-speaking peoples living in countries colonized by Spain. Many natives of the Americas harbor no love for their conquerors and former oppressors, and resent being identified as subjects of a culture and politic that actively strove to eliminate indigenous cultures and languages.
What about the word “Latin”? What sounds sexier? You know, that Latin girl in our class… Or You know, that Latinx girl in our class…..
The strongest argument against Latinx is that no Latins use it among themselves. Here in the US, the say Latin, Latino/Latina, or Hispanic.
I can understand how many prefer a gender-neutral term. But a perfectly good one already exists, and you don’t have to signal your support and love for transgender and non-binary people using it.
spoken by a truly whit guy– has to bring “sexy Latin ‘girl …”)
Their current language did develop from Latin…
How imperialist of you not to offer a definition and simply insist that they are wrong! This is what imperialists do: first they disregard the ways of others, then they insist that by virtue of their superior intellect they are to be trusted in advocating a solution that they believe no one else could have possibly considered. Dejame con la tradición de mis antepasados y la riqueza de la herencia que me ofrecen.
1) In regards to gender/case in Spanish language, I would argue there is a difference between referring to inanimate objects, concepts or places using la/el and the “appropriate” word ending, and using the same form when referring to people. The difference is that the use of gendered nouns and adjectives to refer to human beings also carries certain assumptions and expectations based on the perceived gender of the person/people they’re referring to; a gender neutral ending, like the -x- (and it is not the only one), gives us space to acknowledge multiple genders in the written form of the language.
2) An example sentence like: “Lxs niñxs fueron a lx escuelx a ver sus amigxs,” for me, suggests the authors are making an argument in bad faith and haven’t taken a serious look at the usage of gender neutral words in Spanish as they’ve emerged through the various media and have made their way into academia. Who is writing “lx escuelx” except as joke or hyperbole? Who is taking seriously the argument that gendered language in this case is the same as a language with different grammatical cases/genders? It’s an equivocation the authors would do well to correct in order to move beyond their discomfort, but not one anyone else should take very seriously.
3) In regards to the previous quoted example, the idea that it is unpronounceable without reference to an outside language is an unconvincing one. The Spanish language already has examples of many words with letters and phonemes not usually used in the language, that actually, are or were used frequently (an example of one such sound: El water, El wi-fi). The ambiguity and discussions about how to pronounce the -x- have produced several options: some people pronounce it as -ao- (non-nasal, not the Portuguese ão), as -u-, as -tsk- or -ks-, among many more options.
If the fact that this isn’t standardized is causing anyone severe anxiety, I would again ask the authors to reflect on the word Latinx’s origins, as a neologism coined and used primarily in written language that is making its way through to the spoken form; it’s going to take some time for us to find a consensus.
More broadly, the discussion presented by the authors reveals an anachronistic understanding of what language is and how it changes and, more troublingly, they display an outright patronizing idea of who its speakers are, both within the geographic area of Latin America and in the Diaspora. It’s a disingenuous and unconvincing argument based on supposed grammatical and phonological principles which, for me, are not well argued or supported.
They are right in saying that this is an intervention in the language, they are right in saying it may not be immediately understood: but, mi gente are smart, mi gente are compassionate, and I’m sure we can handle some fuzz and some discomfort as we try to make the language we speak more accommodating, more representative, and more /functional/ for all —Latinxs—.
Furthermore, as an Argentinian somewhat involved in feminist movements that happen mostly in Spanish, I will say that the use of the x as a gender neutral marker is quite widespread, as is the use of “e” instead of “a”/”o”.
So, why don’t you find “Latinxs” in Google trends? Most probably because Latino/Latinx is the name of the Latin American diaspora in the United States, not the general name we use as a community. We can say “yo soy latino” but at least for me that carries more of a description of certain cultural personality traits than an actual feeling of community. When I want to talk about the Latin American people as a whole, I would use “Lxs latinoamericanxs” or, more probably “el pueblo latinoamericano” (I’m personally not a fan of the x, so I look for other options to avoid gendering groups of people).
So.. I honestly think there’s a stink of us-centrism in the whole thing
Don’t hype up your overblown intellect. Latinx is absurdly ridiculous. None of you who use it are Spanish speaking. You are all LINOS or HINOS. Hispanics or Latinos in name only. You are not representative of our population. Just stop pretending. I’ll never use such a stupid word invented by non Spanish speaking people as yourself.
You do realize not all Latinx are Spanish speaking right? You do realize this is an English term for the community, not the Spanish word right? I think you are confused.
Using all the same reasoning (?) that led to the word “Latinx” can be applied to Americanx, Englishx, Frenchx, etc.x. Essentially, if you want to say that you talked to some immigrant English friends that have been living in the U.S.A. and are now citizens, you won’t know if I was talking to an English female or an English male so, you want us to use “Englishx”, is that what you want?
the term wasnt coined by non-spanish speaking people, it was coined by queer latinx people.
You may not say “lx escuelx” but proponents of the x non gendered ending will definitely use “Lxs niñxs fueron a la escuela a ver sus amigxs” and that doesn’t flow like Spanish. These reforms are being made from the perspective of a person that speaks English and that is plain wrong. Call it imperialism or not. Anyway, why are most articles that discuss this topic in English?
LatinX is NOT Spanish. If we are going to be gender neutral, then Latine.
Ufff, OK, this article is – in my honest opinion – rife with bullshit.
Here’s the disclaimer: Soy chileno. I was born there and came to Canada as a kid. I learnt to speak English here, but was fortunately forced to speak Spanish at home. Back to the article.
From the very beginning of the article the issue is confounded: “This is a blatant form of linguistic imperialism — the forcing of U.S. ideals upon a language in a way that does not grammatically or orally correspond with it.”
First of all, it’s not. As far as I’m aware it wasn’t fucking white anglos who coined the term. It was latinxs. They might be latinxs born in or nationalized to the United States. I’m hoping the authors are not denying them their latinidad because of that, but for some reason, there’s the suggestion that español estadounidense is not really Spanish or less valid somehow? I mean last time I checked, the States was a “Spanish-speaking country”. So if people are using it here…
Somebody needs to tell Alanis Moriss… I mean, the author that the actually ironic part is that the people using terms like “latinx” are the ones most often dealing with linguistic imperialism, by trying to maintain their culture and language in Anglo country, often having to choose between their queerness and their latinidad by one community or another. (Yes, yes, I’m bitter. I know.) But if terms like “latinx” help latin queers and allies rally together in solidarity and do that, who are you to say it’s not “Latino” enough?
And guess what, el simple hecho que estemos hablando español por aquí es imperialismo lingüístico. Last time I checked, the plethora of indigenous people here before Colón weren’t speaking Spanish. “The vast majority of people in Latin America from personal experience, would likely be confused and even offended by this attempt to dictate for them how their language is to be structured and how they ought to manage their social constructs.” You know who I’m sure were confused and offended? The people who were originally here in the first place and who were forced to learned Spanish. No entiendo por que estás defendiendo un idioma colonial sobre otro.
Also, referring to queerness and gender non-conformity as “U.S. ideals” is a little bit baffling? It’s not even the first time I hear this bullshit. I agree, we need to make these words our own to reflect the ways in which we perform queerness, but that doesn’t sound like what this article’s saying at all.
Also if the author had began a conversation and engaged with people using the term, I’m sure they could have found out that how to pronounce gender-neutral words in Spanish is part of the creative linguistic process these people are involved in. One great suggestion that I’ve come across without even researching the thing, is pronouncing @’s and x’s as a Spanish “u”. (As someone who’s into linguistics this seems genius as “u” is kind of a middle ground between “a” and “o”.)
All that being said, I wanted to highlight one brilliant point that the author brought up. And it’s this: “Gender in Spanish and gender in English are two different things.” Linguists and philosophers have argued in the past that a language creates its own reality. That each tongue has its own corresponding universe. You can contest the idea back and forth a lot – I don’t wanna get too into it – but this concept is particularly useful when it comes to social constructs like gender. In this case the words, gender, sex, male, female, man, woman, etc. all mean very different things from any Spanish translation you can muster up. This is because the signified for each of these terms is part of a moving, fluid net of relative meanings and cultural contexts all melding into one another.
The most important part of that last explanation is the bit about the movement and fluidity of meanings. This is something anyone who studies languages enough notices. Languages change. Not like, occasionally. I suppose, yeah, it might be more noticeable when people invade your country and force you to talk a certain way, but language is always changing. In the macrocosm of its geolect or sociolect, or in the microcosm of the individual, language is always changing. It’s a living organism, and it carries a lot of power. So when people become conscious of the power it holds over them and the power they hold over it and try to wield it for the sake of fighting cissexim o el patriarcado, then guess what, I’m on those people’s side. And when you argue, “We can’t change it ’cause it’s hard,” you sound like every anglo asshole refusing to use they/them pronouns.
These are my feelings EXACTLY. All of this is well said, and needs to be said over and over again. Also this: “No entiendo por que estás defendiendo un idioma colonial sobre otro.”
Agreed. Also: “It seems that U.S. English speakers came upon Spanish, deemed it too backwards compared to their own progressive leanings, and rather than working within the language to address any of their concerns, “fixed” it from a foreign perspective that has already had too much influence on Latino and Latin American culture”. This insinuates that Latinxs living in the United States aren’t perceptive enough to pick up on the problems with the genderization of Spanish. Oh, it was the U.S. English speakers that enlightened us? Do tell me about colonialism.
Also, if you go along with the “cultural norms” logic, then racism, homophobia and sexism are also “cultural norms”.
Well said! Well said indeed. This is an issue I call the ‘misconception of categorical universaliam’, or, in other words, when a person believes that categories that are relevant in their community are also the ones relevant in all others. This is not just an American issue: I have lived on four continents and had friends from countless countries, and I have noticed that almost everyone has it. But Americans in particular labour under this misconception given that their cultural dominance A) means people around the world are often at least somewhat familiar with America’s system of categorisation and B) this means the Americans rarely have to actually engage with other nations’ systems of categorisation.
This is not only a problem when it comes to Latinx issues. It keeps the American media (and, subsequently, allows much of the European media) to ignore racial issues that don’t conform with America’s racial categorisation system. This happens a lot with people who Americans consider white experience racial discrimination in other areas. The best example here is the Romani community in Europe, which is both socially and systematically oppressed and yet is barely talked about. Another great example are Slavs (and, in particular, East Slavs) who are considered extremely white in the US but who much of the world sees as none white.
(I am typing this on my phone. Please forgive any mistakes I’ve made)
Got some thoughts on your comment– mostly to provide some perspective.
You put a disclaimer, so I’ll do so myself too. I’ve been living in the US for 5 years– came for school, mostly because I found a very good scholarship opportunity and not really because I “dream of living in the US” or think it’s better in any way– in fact, I think it’s worse haha. My family is middle-class in Mexico (unlike most migrants, who are very poor). Also, I’m the only one from my family in the US– all my family is in Mexico and has no interest in moving. The only one with interest in moving is me, back home hahah. I speak English quite well, and that’s because I started learning it through school since the age of 3 (part of the reason the scholarship opportunity came about).
With that out of the way, my thoughts:
> Here’s the disclaimer: Soy chileno. I was born there and came to Canada as a kid. I learnt to speak English here, but was fortunately forced to speak Spanish at home.
Here’s the first thing I want to point out. You speak the language, you grew with the culture at home, but you grew up outside of Chile. I’ve been living outside of Mexico for the past 5 years and even though I came of age in Mexico, all my family is in Mexico, etc. I am already noticing cultural shifts.
What I’m trying to say here is that being born somewhere doesn’t give you the perspective of people from that place.
> As far as I’m aware it wasn’t fucking white anglos who coined the term. It was latinxs. They might be latinxs born in or nationalized to the United States. I’m hoping the authors are not denying them their latinidad because of that, but for some reason, there’s the suggestion that español estadounidense is not really Spanish or less valid somehow?
As someone, who again, grew up in Mexico, has all his family in Mexico, is in the US only temporarily and hopes to move back to Mexico (I feel the cultural divide every day)– I won’t speak of validity but they are very different, yes.
The cultures of “Latinx” and people in Latin America _are_ very different. I can speak of some points that have really stood out to me, but that would be a whole other essay. Instead I’ll point out 2 big ones:
— “Shared Identity: People in Latin America hardly ever refer to themselves as “Latinos” or “Latinas” to begin with. It was quite weird to me at first– I feel very different from Chileans, Cubans, people from the DR, Peru, Guatemala, etc. Yet here people group me, and group themselves under all these different categories and it’s quite odd (I personally don’t identify at all with the “Latino” term. I’m Mexican).
— “The importance of the “Latinx” identity: People in the US have all these weird notions of identity. It was super weird to me how important your “classification” is here. Thought experiment– imagine moving to some other country, and all the forms ask you what your astrological sign is. You hear it in conversations here and there. People group around their astrological sign. It comes up every day, everywhere– news, work, friends. People are very proud of it.
“That’s a little bit how it felt like coming to the US, but with these weird identity devides. And I say weird cause some are racial (“black people”, “white people”) some are religious (“muslim”) some have just have a rough geographic meaning (“asian”, “latin american”), and they all have this blurry notion of membership– it’s where your parents are from, but also where you are from, but also how you look, but also cultural (?), but also where that one great-grandparent of yours is from… it’s super odd to me.
The result: this notion of “latinidad” you speak of. This is such a foreign concept to me, but matters so much to people here. So when you say, “I’m hoping the authors are not denying them their latinidad because of that”– no it’s not that. It’s simply that that concept just doesn’t apply in Latin America because it doesn’t exist there.
Of course spanish in the US is also spanish, but not all spanish speakers have the same identity. The color of someone’s skin is not meaningful where it comes to identity– it doesn’t matter if it was “white anglos” or not who coined a term– what matters is that Latin America is not represented by a single group of people, and that includes those who were born or grew up or are living outside of it.
Which brings me to your next point:
> I mean last time I checked, the States was a “Spanish-speaking country”. So if people are using it here…
Mexico also is a spanish-speaking country, and it doesn’t use it. Or Guatemala. Or Colombia.
But the thing is, if Colombia decides to use a term– they identify as Colombians, first, not “Latin American”, and the term is thus “Colombian”, a regionalism, and not something that attempts to be imposed on a whole identity and a whole people. This is what I mean by “Latin America” is not represented by a single group of people, and my problem with the “Latin American” identity as it exists in the US, or the imposition of the “Latinx” terminology.
Now to be fair, this “Latinx” thing is not bad– in fact I’d argue it’s a very interesting phenomenon that should be studied more, and should be better defined. It’s a whole other culture born out of the American culture and the culture from latin american countries. But just like “America” is a continent, the US decided to appropriate the term and now “Americans” doesn’t mean people from the whole of America but just from the US, “Latin American” proper, and “Latinx” as defined as people from latin american ancestry born and raised in the US, are different.
> I mean, the author that the actually ironic part is that the people using terms like “latinx” are the ones most often dealing with linguistic imperialism, by trying to maintain their culture and language in Anglo country
I agree with this.
> Often having to choose between their queerness and their latinidad by one community or another. (Yes, yes, I’m bitter. I know.) But if terms like “latinx” help latin queers and allies rally together in solidarity and do that, who are you to say it’s not “Latino” enough?
I agree. Your identity is important. And this is where I think there’s a rift and miscommunication that needs to be solved. You’re “Latino”. I am not.
Well said. Well said. If folks are paying attention, they will realize you gave them a cultural lesson on several levels.
The Astrological sign comparison is genius. Bravo.
Gracias por tu respuesta, A.
Asi es como nos sentimos una gran cantidad de Latinx, Latinas, Latinos.
Who gets to change language though? Do the people of Bolivia have any say in the matter? What about non-binary people in Argentina? And why not change it to something functional and not anglo-colonial like “x”. wouldn’t using “e” make way more sense? Latines sounds way better and will be able to be used by everyone, not just the privileged who have had experience with english. Its not about it being “hard” to change you are missing the plot and not acknowledging your blindspot. There is a credible issue of privilege here that you have no authority to diminish.
Traidor de mierda
Anglo supremacista tu opinion no importa.
Mejor adimite que quiere ser un puto gringo.
Hey Chileno, Nadien en Chile sabe lo que es LatinX y no le important. Esto es asunto de los gringos, y como te interesa tanto muestra que eres uno de ellos y no nosotros.
Viva La Raza
El problema es que cambiar al español desde la perspectiva del inglés no funciona. Si querés estar en contra del patriarcado, entonces elegí “latines” no “latinx” que es agregar sonidos que no pertenecen al español.
Hey just FYI the term LatinX was not coined by Latinos in the US. While there is no clear sense of its origins in the US, it’s attributed to a group of students, both whites and latinos.
I agree with the sentiment of the article, and with most other latin opinions here, there’s a better way to solve for this if we wanted/needed it, and it’s the use of the E- LatinE.
In any event, our community is not finding this term to be representative of the main issue. The X indeed is not solving it , so compadre Chileno the real reason is not that it sounds hard, is that it’s not the right solve.
I found this article infuriating and completely off point.
1. ‘Latinxs’ is not new, it was being used when I was living in Argentina in 2009 and it was not new to the people using it then. I knew people who spoke it fluently and I would hear it in public discourse (socialist discourse but public nonetheless). These were not academics and they were not upperclass (ni chetxs). I have only experienced it in a Latin American context, and there was no sense of them being ‘forced’ to use it.
2. In my experience with it, the ‘x’ is only meant to be used with literally gendered things like ‘lxs chicxs’ not with things like ‘lx escuelx’. I wouldn’t advocate for ‘lx escuelx’ because I don’t think that is the point of the ‘x’. As far as I know, no one is advocating to remove gender from Spanish grammar, but to acknowledge that not everyone with literal human gender falls into an -a or -o ending.
3. They argue that it is impossible to pronounce and that you would have to have contact with English to know how to pronounce ‘lxs chicxs’? I don’t understand what this has to do with the pronunciation of English? “It excludes all of Latin America, who simply cannot pronounce it in the U.S. way.” What is the US way of pronouncing ‘x’? Xylophone? [ecks]? Are people saying ‘latin-ecks’? I don’t think they are? In Argentina it was pronounced like an ‘e’ which has nothing to do with English, and how on earth does this exclude Latin Americans when it is actively used in Latin America? The authors of this simply didn’t do their research on the use of the word globally. OKAY
4. ARE YOU REALLY SCARED THAT A BUNCH OF QUEERS ARE GOING TO TAKE OVER SPANISH AND CHANGE THE LANGUAGE FOREVER? No. I’m sorry but unfortunately that probably isn’t going to happen and most people are going to live on expecting people to fit in a binary. People using ‘latinx’ is…. Not threatening. When you hear it spoken it is not confusing and when you see it written it is not confusing. If someone around you isn’t familiar, and you are too embarrassed to explain to them that it is because there are people in the world who don’t identity as male or female, then I don’t think the problem is with ‘latinx’.
I was born and raised in South America. I’ve encountered what you are referring to as Latiné or, for example, les niñes. That’s different from Latinx.
Thank you! I exactly share your critiques when I read this. The “x” is used in Guatemala, Mexico, and Chile, countries I have recently visited and heard the “x” used in public discourse. I thought some of the arguments this person was making were extreme and defensive such as the use of “escuelx” – ridiculous and not the point. One critique I would add to their argument is that according to their argument we should eliminate “Latino” all together as it is a U.S. construct and not actually used in Latin America, where it has a totally different meaning.
I always read it as latin-ecks. It is a neologism and people will pronounce it how they pronounce it until there is a general pronunciation. In English, it reads like Latin-x, which makes total sense since it is being used as an undefined variable for gender.
Actually yes, my Latina professor pronounced it latin-ecks. (I’m from California.)
Voy a hablar en español/castellano.
Definitivamente este articulo o fue escrito por personas cuya primera lengua no es el español/castellano, o que llevan tanto tiempo fuera de paises de habla hispana que no recuerdan los debates.
Para empezar, tanto el uso de la x como el uso de la @ no son de uso en Norte-America, si no que del Estado Español mismo. De hecho, se llevan usando desde los 1980s. En Puerto Rico, desde principios de los 1990s. Es decir, por mas de dos decadas.
Nosotres, lxs feministes retamos ese machismo linguistico, no por influencia ejena, si no por que reconocemos que el lenguaje no es solo una forma de expresar el pensamiento, si no una forma de formar el pensamiento tambien.
Esa dialectica es lo que esta en juego: la falsa alegacion de que esta busqueda de un español/castellano con neutralidad de genero es algo que proviene desde afuera o por influencia exterior es un chauvinismo de lesa seriedad. Mas aun, es una defensa del machismo usando de bandera la xenofobia linguistica, algo ridiculo en una lengua que es un latin vulgarizado con el celta y el visigotico y el mozarabe, y con fuerte influencia del frances. Es decir, una lengua que de pura no tiene nada.
En realidad los autores necesitan una clase sobre como se desarrollan las lenguas, incluyendo el español/castellano – nunca ocurren en un vacio de tiempo o espacio. La lucha feminista no existe fuera del lenguaje, por mas que estos machitos insistan que es asi. Dejen el lloriqueo chauvinista.
A mi en lo personal no me gusta mucho la “x”, pero me gusta mucho menos el machismo medieval y cavernicola de los autores de esta pieza. Por supuesto que so hombres – so lo a un machito se le ocurre las sandeces ignorantes aqui transmitidas.
(estoy en un teclado que me hace dificil acentuar – aunque la ñ esta facil – asi que me disculpan)
Además nótese que ambos autores son hombres.
Amen, Carlos! Tanto que lloran 😀
> (…) reconocemos que el lenguaje no es solo una forma de expresar el pensamiento, si no una forma de formar el pensamiento tambien.
Siempre he tenido una duda con este concepto: si el lenguaje es una forma de pensar el pensamiento, ¿dirías que la sociedad turca, cuyo lenguaje no tiene géneros gramaticales, es menos sexista que la española u otra con un idioma que sí tiene géneros?
Gracias de antemano por tu respuesta.
thank you so much. i just saw a youtuber use this fake term latinx in a video and it was so jarring. imagine trying to forcibly change every two-gender language: Celtic, Romance, most Indo-Aryan, lots of Afro-Asiatic, etc.
imagine living in a world where not only do cis people refuse to accept you, but laugh in your face and write shitty articles like this when you try to create a term to include yourself in your own language.
You didn’t create this word, and it’s not your own language, but ok.
I’m also Latina and in my opinion “Latinx” is seriously offensive. It’s so blatantly disrespectful and dismissive of Latino people. We’re not some a fucking cookie brand you can change the name of because it makes you uncomfortable. Really, what gives you and other children on the internet the authority to rename an entire race? Grow up and stop acting like a self-important child. There already is a gender-neutral word for Latino, it’s, wait for it, “Latino.” Your comment implies you don’t like being ignored by non transgender people and yet you’re completely ignoring the feelings of all Latino people.
Yess, exactly..my issue is that we’re getting all these ideological terms imposed on us for example cis latinx..and if you don’t like it you’re automatically reduced to an unmitigated bigot.
“fake term” Give me a fucking break. From one Latinx to another, you’ve got more allies than you know, ATB.
I’m Chilean, living in Chile, and quite honestly laugh in the face of the people who typed this up, and anyone who considered it appropriate enough to be posted. This entire article is ignorant garbage, you very clearly do not have a proper grasp of the Spanish language (see César’s second point).
FYI, we’ve been using X to replace a/o in certain words for more than a decade, and mostly in written form (such as chatspeak), Hell you can even find it in graffiti. But most people prefer to use @ instead of X, hence why your Googling didn’t turn up much info (also, Google isn’t reliable for Spanish related information, at all, since it goes mainly by popularity and anglo sites have always had much more traffic) – you would’ve had an easier time just asking people from Latin America and Spain about the use of X in certain words to include all genders – not to mention saved yourself from typing up this mockery.
TL;DR: no, our language is not being attacked by gringos, get off your high horse.
Yup. It’s increasingly common in newspapers in Argentina as well.
I am a chilena and totally desagree with you! Cuando usaste la palabra “Latinx” u otras palabras terminadas en “x” en el colegio? O la universidad? Tal vez fuiste a un colegio ingles en Chile? Estas totalmente perdido! Fui estudiante de nota 7 en la clase de Castallano (luego llamada Lenguaje y comunicacion) y ahora soy profesora. No me vas a venir con esas ideas falsas. Tu experience en nada representa la realidad de Chile.
I was born in Peru, but I was mostly raised in the US, and I’m also non-gender conforming. When I personally found out about “Latinx,” I actually didn’t like it. I thought it definitely was a very “outsider” way to fix the problem. I don’t believe that it was linguistic imperialism, or anything like that, considering it was Latinxs that created it, and not some pasty anglos. However, I still believed that it did undermine the culture of the language itself, considering x isn’t ever used at the end of a word in Spanish at all. Though this articles excuse of “it’s just too hard to change to use Latinx” is the most privileged thing I’ve ever heard. As I learned more about the origins of Latinx, I didn’t oppose it as much as I originally had. I do believe that some type of movement towards a more gender-inclusive Castillano needs to be made. Personally, my friends and I use “Latine.” Though not nearly as popularised or known as Latinx, I think it’s great for many reasons.
1) -e is already a suffix in Castillano that is used for gender-neutral terms, (por ejemplo, “estudiante”)
2) it flows off my tongue more easily (I always tripped up on Latinx and it always made me feel embarrassed but that’s personal),
3) it is more likely to be accepted by Latin countries. The article did point out how Latinx is more commonly used in the US and not actually latin countries. While there are many reasons for that, having a word such as “Latine” that sounds more natural in Spanish would make it easier to integrate.
I still use Latinx to refer to anyone who wishes to identify as because it’s respectful and I don’t think it’s harmful in any way, but I prefer to refer to myself and the general public as “Latine.” I’m definitely open to discussions about Latinx/Latine. I do believe that discussion is necessary for the Latine community to come to one universal term.
This article was written from such a point of privilege and obviously refused to even consider Latinx as a viable alternative. Their big reveal, that you should just stay with Latino is so ignorant. Normalizing the masculine -o to the general public only serves to further the patriarchy by saying the typical human being is male, as well as implies that the ones that are important to specify or talk about are the men. It gives more power to men. Then, refusing to acknowledge a suffix not tied to any gender at all is blatantly ignoring the struggles of non-binary people like me. Assuming that masculinity and femininity fits everyone is cissexist. And on top of that, what if you want to refer to a specific person? If they aren’t either Latino or Latina, and there’s no other alternative, how would you refer to me? Would you erase my gender in an attempt to preserve your language? No. We need a gender-neutral term and I’m sure that someone who it doesn’t really affect wouldn’t think much of it but as a Latine/Latinx I definitely support any movement to include me in my own native language.
why do all these fucks sound the same… almost like they are NPCs. Im betting its the same person leaving basically the same comment over, and over, and over, and over…. its privilege bitches, get over yourself!
This is actually my main reasons why I no longer want to support “intersectional”/tumblr-esque social justice. They only want to help themselves and want to silence and exclude people who don’t agree with them. A Latino man, who wrote this article doesn’t agree with the word “Latinx”. Neither do I and I’m Latina, not a white cishet man trying to disguise as one. A bunch of these tumblr minded SJ activists probably didn’t read this article and attacked this guy just because he disagreed with this term. Spanish is a gendered language, so are all of the Latin based languages, such as French and Portuguese.
The only time I’ve heard the terms “Latinx” or “Latin@” are from US based social media sites such as tumblr, Facebook, or twitter. Now I’ve seen a bunch of liberal news websites adopting the term and casually using it to please the PC crowd. I’ve highly doubt that the term “Latinx” existed before before 2013. Show me a non US based source or I’ll immediately discredited you as a moronic, trendy tumblr user. It sounds harsh, but I don’t need to be saved by liberal, privileged, pastel haired gring- oh sorry, “gringxs” telling me that my “idioma” is wrong.
if you don’t support intersectional social justice, you’re just kind of a rotten person no matter what language you speak or who your grandparents are.
Wow. I came here expecting to agree with this article. And I did, to a certain extent, until I started reading the comments. I now realize that my point of view was extremely limited and privileged, despite the fact that I am a genderqueer venezuelan, which means I am directly affected by this.
A big fat thank you to commenters such as A, Carlos, Annalee, Max, and Reggie, for opening my eyes as to what denying “Latinxs” really is causing. I do agree with the authors when they say that it’s very strange to pronounce and it’s gonna take a while to get used to, because that’s basically saying “I’m not gonna include you ’cause it’s too hard and I’m too lazy’, and it’s not fair at all. We can still replace the X with an E or U (my favourite) in spoken language.
TL;DR: privileged peeps, it’s time to open your eyes and make an effort to be fucking inclusive for once and for all.
Latinx is definitely a term mostly used in the USA. I have never heard Latinx being used in Peru. I have never heard it coming out of the mouth of the hundreds of people from Latin America I work with currently living in the United States. Actually, the first time I heard it was from my American husband.
I’m not a fan of Latinx for a couple of reasons. I agree with the author that it’s an anglicismo that seems forced and makes no grammatical sense in Spanish. Secondly, it just looks terrible when written. There’s no elegance to it and just causes confusion on how to pronounce it.
Personally, I would use the term “Latiné” with the accent. It makes sense within the construct of Spanish and just looks much more aesthetically pleasing. If we’re gonna add gender neutral terms in the language the word should be as elegant and beautiful as the language itself.
Absolutely spot on. This is a term used by Latino-Americans who don’t fully understand or appreciate their parents’ or grandparents’ native tongue. My mother and father would not be able to pronounce latinx or lxs chicxs. Good intentions but it butchers how beautiful our language is- the way the words can just roll off our tongues. The solution is not to change our language but change policies that impact these communities.
This is such an “all lives matter” argument” lol
“a misguided desire to forcibly change the language we and millions of people around the world speak, to the detriment of all.” – A majority of the people I know that use the term aren’t imposing or enforcing it on anyone. Our language is evolving to be more conscience of Trans/Gender Non-Conforming individuals, but this is not the first or last time this has happened in the course of history. The Spanish language in itself is a byproduct of colonialism, so why do we suddenly feel that imperialist rhetoric of ‘inclusivity’ is imposing on our culture? Lmfao. Give me a break.
We should take the authors’ arguments very seriously. Some readers here may be too young to remember when Reagan funded the Contras to spread the use of “latinx” throughout Central America, resulting in devastating civil war throughout the region. Or how the U.S.-backed coup in Chile toppled the Allende government and installed gender inclusivity in the Spanish language of the region, resulting in a brutal dictatorship lasting decades. We must heed the authors’ warning lest well-meaning Latin queers usher in a new era of imperialism and suffering throughout Latin America.
I am so happy this article was written. As a Hispanic-American and as a High School Spanish teacher, I find the term “Latinx” completely unnecessary, jarring, and excessive. Spanish is a beautiful language and I am not going to apologize for it being a gendered language. If someone is truly upset by the Spanish word, they can use “Latin American”, not some ridiculous and difficult made up word.
tbh this is transphobic garbage. white americans did NOT invent nonbinary identities. we have existed for thousands of years, and the gender binary is one of many results of colonialism. it honestly sounds like you know absolutely nothing about trans people, let alone nonbinary people. do your research next time before you make such a huge, transphobic leap.
Funny thing is that some countries on that image does not have spanish as official language (like Brazil, which happens to be the biggest one in Latin America.. Wish you guys could at least star to realize that Hispanic =/= Latino. It’s funny that, for a group that all out to defend minorities, you guys have a very hispanic centric views of things ( it makes sense, since they are the majority). What about the portuguese, french, …etc speakers?
Couldn’t agree more with the original author. Dejaria nuestro bello español mas confundido, solo para poner feliz a los academicos de los EEUU. In reality, the latin@ is much more in use in non-scholarly forms and in latin America, and even then it’s rare.
As a U.S. citizen living in Spain for the past 12 years, I can assure the authors and readers that while I cannot attest to its origin, the use of the letter X in place of the A or O in nouns and adjectives denoting gender is quite common in certain circumstances, and I have never heard of it being associated with U.S.-based linguistic imperialism.
Its use is mainly confined to placards, posters, headlines, and other simple, highly visible texts. The context is most often political, usually in feminist or LGBTQIA circles, or others displaying their support of these groups.
The reasoning is that the irony of grammatical gender rules is not lost on those concerned with and who are fighting for equality on these issues. While fighting against traditional gender-based hierarchies, it is difficult to overlook that in the very language they use to express themselves, the masculine form always takes precedence over the feminine. If I (a male) am in a room full of women and someone enters to address us, we’re “vosotros.” Who decided that? And it’s happened to me multiple times.
However, I have never heard anyone try to pronounce this. Often you might hear someone say “chicos y chicas” or reverse in order to give women preference, or just to stop giving the preference to the same people. Some years ago the use of the @ sign was more common, and you would see “tod@s” instead of “todxs.” I believe this was replaced – although you shouldn’t take my word for it – for aethetic reasons as well as for being a non cis-inclusive alternative. I usually dedicate a formal letter like this: “Muy señores/as míos/as.” I suppose being formal would be my excuse for putting the masculine form first, but now’s as good a time as ever to start changing it up.
Another point is, while the use of “latinxs” is not nearly as common here, I certainly have never seen “latinx” or any other singular use. “Estoy cansadx,” for example, just looks more like the shorthand adolescents use in their text messages. The E is sometimes used, not only for gender reasons but also to make it more detectable for devices used by persons with vision difficulties.
This, however, is often messy and confusing. Language, as our primary form of communication, is seeped in complex and disloyal nuances, and overprogrammed with own own culture and history. It is probably more difficult to change its inconsistencies with our moral viewpoints than to change the laws and social norms that protecting those very same injustices. In the meantime, no time nor effort is wasted when we help each other understand what these injustices are, and how we can rectify them.
While we’re on the topic of helping each other understand things, there’s also the point of the U.S.-centric perspective of the article, and the short-sightedness of a country that “looks at its own bellybutton.”
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Sure…butcher the Spanish language some more!!!! why not? you idiots!!!!
First of all, the WHOLE word “Latin” is wrong. If, and only IF we want to use it, THEN we have to use ALSO the term ANGLO for USA, UK and English, about ALL what concerns music, culture and issues expressed in English Language. And so on with EVERY group, culture or Language. I´ve never understand why everything written or said ONLY in English are free to do so, to be named, mentioned or taken as “normal” (= standard = no need to be said its origin), or “occidental”, etc, and by other cultures has to be exposed or said.
Example: I was in a rock band in Nord-Europe one time, and I really hated when someone mentioned, that we played “Latin-Heavy Metal” only because we sang in Spanish…
It is not more important the fact that we play HEAVY METAL, than in which language or way we do it?
And how then about people they just sing something or even invent their own language (like singing “Oghs Mes Niujsk”, as a sentence or words created by the artist itself. There are also a couples of singers from bands outhere, they sing in their own created language)… how we will them defined???
Maybe we wether come from Spain, nor even is our mother language Spanish. But, it does not really matter, we will classified as “Latin Heavy Metal”.
Boring and absurd, sorry!
LET`S US FREE from all this stuff and tags, and be just musicians, music, people, etc. It does really matter, where I´m coming or which words I choose??
It is not more important HOW THIS WORDS SOUNDS LIKE, which notes and tones they represent than the meaning of them, or even their origin???
I´m only saying at the end: “No one is free until WE ALL are free”
Or we define EVERY single word, or culture or person through its origin. or we named NOTHING by tags and names. Equall rights for equall people and cultural backgrounds.
Whoever uses the term Latinx probably doesn’t speak Spanish very well or at all. I would know immediately if a person uses the term Latinx they are probably a “fake” Latino. The Spanish language has rules that cannot be changed because of some political agenda. I consider myself moderate to liberal. But liberals look like fools when they worry about stupidity like this instead of focusing on real issues such as fighting poverty. Native Spanish speakers will NEVER accept the term Latinx.
Im a native Spanish speaker. I accept the term Latinx … your entire post has been rendered invalid and pointless.
I’m sorry for those who disagree with this article but this is not just language imperialism. This can very well be applied to the English language and/or any other language. For example, “The actor had a sister that is a princess” would change in a non-binary context to “The actx had a xer that is a princx”. I have a feeling that changing language is a poor way to solve a social issue. And if yall feel like language should be changed then adding an X is purely stupid. Thr author purely is making a statement that adding X excludes non-binary spanish people. X is just dumb. Please people…was X really the solution. It even sounds dumb in english.
I personally dislike the term Latino. It connotes that we as a people derive from Latin. Latin was a language and Spanish has its root in Latin. So does Portuguese French and Italian. I wouldn’t. Consider those that speak these language as sharing the culture the language and mores. I prefer Hispanic. Because no matter how much one may hate the history of how we as an ethnicity came to be, one can’t erase that we come from 3 races which the term “Latino” does not identify with
ok, kind of late comment here. I’m Brazilian, I speak portuguese, not spanish. I don’t like the use of created gender neutral nouns. I think that when the author gives “lxs escuelxs” as an example it’s not meant to compare people to objects. It just means that through the evolution of the language they might have passed through the same process of having grammatical gender. English used to be a gendered language, but now it isn’t. “Jane” might refer to a woman but it’s a genderless word in the english grammar sense, just like idk car. They both lost their genders through the evolution of english, not due to someone’s decision. People say this is excluding, but don’t actually think about how a language came to be. When it comes to gender in the morphology sense it has probably nothing to do with a sexist and cissexist society, it’s just how the language walked through time. Maybe in the future latin languages will be genderless, maybe not. I don’t think this kind of thing will be changed by a small group of people (yes, small, compared to the total amount of speakers.). It takes time, and it’s natural. And also because people close themselves in this bubble on tumblr they actually forget about real people and real language speaking enviroment. Using “x” or “@” might be understood by some but to a lot of people it is just plainly confusing. Nobody will speak like that, or even say “latines” because, like I said, it takes time and not the effort of a small group of people that close themselves in this out of reality place. Besides this is not at all practical. Imagine dislexical people or visually disabled ones. The latter group needs a tool to read out loud written texts. This mechanisms can’t read this gender neutral words. This change is not really good in a lot of cases. Besides, when he speaks about this being mainly used by english speaking people I kind of aggree, although I’m not a 100% sure about that. A couple of years ago, this gender neutral language was used a lot in brazilian social media. Nowadays it’s hardly seen, because people realised it’s kind of useless you know. You can actually find articles written by feminists against this kind of practice. I spent a lot of time without using tumblr, so when I came back I saw this language I lot. I get really mad when I think people who don’t know latin languages think this is a way to end oppression. It isn’t. Think about whole words that are actually sexist and cissexist, like “puta”, “viado”, “vadia”, “traveco” etc. Try to change that. Still, if you think that this feature of latin languages is still excluding, try to omit articles before nouns that can be seen as genderless. I’m kind of skeptical about it though, since it never really worked outside this bubble.
It is 2018, and within the past few months is the first time that I have come across this term in online articles. At first, like many, I thought it was a typo, until I decided to Google it. As an American with Puerto Rican heritage that speaks Spanish with a near-native ability, I find the term “Latinx” to be completely and utterly ridiculous. When does it stop, people? This whole openness about sexuality that has come about in recent years seems like it is demanding that we change what has always been. Why??? No matter what classification you identify with, the truth of the matter is that EVERY human being of Hispanic descent was born either a Latino or a Latina. If you choose to call yourself something else, that’s on you. This whole generation is about overaccommodation, which is silly. Life is hard; roll with it and don’t change the language. While on the topic of openness about sexuality, let’s stop all of the hyperpromotions about that too – like celebrating LGBQT CEOs, for example. The fact of what you practice behind closed doors should not impact your work ethic or style. Think about it.
Hahah, what do you understand how english works? The non-binary version of that sentence would be “the actor had a sibling that was a royal.” English and Spanish apply gender to language differently. English has gendered WORDS, Spanish has gendered SUFFIXES.
Query: If Latino is too masculine and Latina is too feminine, with neither being gender-inclusive enough, instead of creating a new word for them, why not just use the genderless word, “Hispanic” instead?
I honestly think you are missing the point. The use of Latinx is not to change Spanish into gender neutral but to self identify with the experience of being Latino and living in the US the same way the term Chicano has been used in the past. It is how the new generation identifies.
As a person who studied Spanish, teaches it, and traveled to almost all Latin American countries – Spanish is a mix of different experiences and cultures. We have indigenous, African and Anglo all that have influenced words in Spanish. Latinx is another example how the language evolves. The only imposition here is to think that Spanish is only what comes from Spain because even that has a huge Arab influence. Language is not static, it evolves. Latinx is not trying to make all of Spanish gender neutral ir is just one new word used to identify an experience and a generation.
Sounds like you believe that using the “x” is some dangerous, militant quest to remove gender from Spanish altogether, as opposed to allowing for alternative ways to refer to people that are accessible, inclusive, and non-patriarchal… Well, yikes. But okay. I will say this. For two individuals I can only presume are men to say that changing a patriarchal element of language is an imperialist move is the real eye-roller for me. You posit that “Latinos” is inclusive because it can effectively and unambiguously refer to a group of mixed gender. What you do not unpack, though, is WHY. “Latinos” can refer to any group of Latinxs (boom!) that is not exclusively girls or women not because it is a constitutionally expansive term, but because Spanish, as one of many languages that emerged in a rampantly sexist world, prioritizes the acknowledgement of the masculine, even if that is a single baby boy or man. Unfortunately, that impulse to always locate and empower men, all else be damned, leaps off the page and into our everyday lives in horribly violent and actually detrimental ways. You want something to protest? Aquí está.
I am ALL about decentering the U.S. and squashing the assumption of U.S. influence. It is, in fact, the only sport my gay butt plays. Nevertheless, I also know revolutions do not start ubiquitously. Their roots are hyperlocal—a person in a community, a city in a sovereignty, an island in an empire. In this case, it seems a cheap shot to undermine a valuable shift being made based on it possibly coming from Latinx folx (just a style thang; calm down) in the U.S. Simply put? Tracing the start of “Latinx” to the U.S. does not discount the powerful way the practice affirms and validates non-binary people and gender equity more broadly. The concept could have hatched in Iceland and Fiji for all I care. It is making people feel seen and heard and reminding them that they, like words, do indeed have the power to change reality.
Spanish spread and has been established as the official language of, what, 20 countries and close to 500 million people most accurately due to colonialism, not imperialism. Even as so much was lost, in the name of survival, indigenous and enslaved peoples had to learn, adopt, and pass down Spanish. And now, in 2018, many descendants of those very people, like me, regard Spanish as their own, a unique cultural legacy, one that we get to bless with our own wisdom, twists, and flavor. To the extent that I can modify Spanish to the benefit of my people, and frankly all people, whether they get it or not, I count it as inheritance and bequest, not imperialism.
End of the day, it is the nature of language to evolve to meet the needs of those trying to communicate with it. If something does not work, it does not stick. If it works, it takes off and might even endure. So, like, I dunno… Relax, guys… Let gx and let gxd.
I always wondered: Is Haiti part of Latin America? How about Quebec?
By definition I would say you are right.
Great question, and another, does the word Hispanic derive from Hispañola, an island that speaks both Spanish and French?
So much to say about this because Spanish in the Americas is a colonial language so you can’t “counter” colonize just like you can’t counter Columbus something and there is no reverse racism…there are young children in Spain who use gender inclusive terms like elle instead of ella or el. I also say Latinx in Spanish. I am a native Spanish speaker who learned Spanish before English and grew up in the US. I’m not trying to anglicize A N Y T H I N G in my life let along my language or culture. BUT I am totally down to change gendered patriarchal and heteronormative practices.
For that matter, can we return American to its original definition (of the Americas) and use US as an attributive noun for “of the United States”?
Finally someone dares to address an issue that is critical to our development of Mexico, Central and South America. The USA is the only country that does not have an assigned name, they claim the whole Continent as their own for their country name, “America.” Interesting, because historically All the countries from Mexico to the tip of South America have been exploited and basically ruled by “America”. Think about it what does this mean? what has it done to our development and What are the key issued at stake?
As a white American who was raised in a household where English was the only language spoken, I grew up with the challenge of how to deal with gendered language. Many people in my community were searching for ways to be included and visible in our language. We tried out and used many different approaches, from “ze” to “xe” to “per” (my dad’s favorite) to the singular “they” to “one” or “that one” to using only names, never pronouns, and many more. We did struggle with many issues of whether the terms were understood, how to pronounce them, how to make them plural, possessive, how they work as direct objects, indirect objects, etc. But those challenges were seen as growing pains and in no way comparable to the experience of being erased and misunderstood in every interaction. It is only really in the last decade that I’ve witness more of a standardization of the singular “they” in American English.
I also have lived for years in Spanish-speaking countries. I witnessed and participated in similar discussions and explorations, both around issues of sexism and cissexism. When I was at university in Spain about 15 years ago I read an article in a student paper arguing that we should use the “a/as” or “o/os” forms depending on the majority. So that if you walk into a shop with 10 people waiting, and 2 appear male and 8 appear female, you should ask “quien es ultima” instead of “quien es ultimo” (this is a Spanish way of not actually standing in a line). In Ecuador about 20 years ago I was part of a conversation with an expectant parent who did not identify with female pronouns who wanted to call the child in their belly “le bebe.”
“Latinxs” is one approach that was created by people and for people in a particular linguistic context who wanted to be able to talk about themselves. Others in other places, times and groups, have used other terms like “@” “e” “u””ao” etc. None of this represents a threat to anyone. You just have to choose to take seriously the concern that is being addressed and engage with it. How do you pronounce “Latinxs” in Spanish? Answer: however the hell your community wants.
A language that does not change is not preserved, it is dead.
Both male and female words can be made to be gender neutral in Spanish like “Los Latinos” or “La persona” and it’s understood that it refers to people in general and not a specific gender. ”
Also the word Latino in itself is gender neutral unless you specify with “el joven latino” or change it to “la mujer latina”.
This needed to be pointed out. Other examples are “la humanidad, las personas, la gente, las ideas, la policía, la clase obrera, las masas, etc…).
I dislike the term, “Chicano”.
When I was in Mexico DF in 2015 I saw both Latinx and ‘@’ in written communication amongst countercultural punk rock and feminist Chilang@s. There might be some global northern politically correct linguistic imperialism at work somewhere, but there is also evidence that this is a grassroots effort to de-patriarchalize the language from native Latin American speakers.
This entire site is gay.
bad, bad, bad
” The term is virtually nonexistent in any Spanish-speaking country. This is problematic for many reasons. It serves as a prime example of how English speakers can’t seem to stop imposing their social norms on other cultures.”
awful argument because many latinx people including myself use the term, not just English speakers. arguments like this work to dismantle latinx unity, and ignore the fluidity and uniqueness of latinx peoples.
many spanish and bilingual speakers hold space for the term. the article leads that using the term is a form of imperialism/colonization within itself, but it’s not white eurocentric academia type people that made and originated the term. it is queer, brown, radical, latinx people, leading the revolution that formed the term.
really funny that they even suggest that, because it’s another way that English white speakers think they own something that a brown person coined, lead, and strategized.
“Latinx” has actually nothing to do w the “USA USA USA” argument and more so that latinx contemporaries !Here! are decolonizing all of the issues, disenfranchisement, and violence in our communities from government and police.
““Lxs niñxs fueron a lx escuelx a ver sus amigxs.” You literally cannot, and it seems harmless and absurd until you realize the broader implication of using x as a gender neutral alternative.”
another funny story because
literally no latinx people ever think that we should take out every a and o out of the language and replace it with X’s hahaha. this argument is used often, but the term latinx is not an attempt to deplete language. SPANISH speakers have retained the language and use the x in ways to support queer LGBT radical identity.
another reason people that do not know the culture should stop Imposing their ideas on everyone.
beginning line: ”
As we continually search for ways to improve gender inclusivity in Spanish” funny story that white type academia guys dont actually understand the usage in it’s entirety. it’s not only about gender inclusivity but also to represent decolonization as a whole
Get your INSANE words out of our beautiful language . That word will never ever ever ever ever be a real word . Great article even though you’re only justifying not using the word academically . Rationally and morally also have definitive arguments .
Language is a living thing that is alive in the bodies of those who use it.
Nobody can claim any part of it is”true” or “false” – it’s always a group effort, and the mark of success is in the cull communication of an idea.
I am from California. I do not speak Spanish or Latin, have never even been to Spain and tho I have many family members who are fluent Spanish (Califonized) speakers and some who live in Mexico, I don’t relate to the term “Latino” at all.
I also work in a University, and let me tell some of you who are in your own nostalgic bubbles – change is always happening. I see young people invent words to describe themselves and their reality. They are not taking accepted norms just because “that’s the way it’s always been.”
We are the shapers of reality, and the simple fact that everyone in this comment section has not put thought into this issue and what it all implies is the beginning of change.
Now you have the choice as to wether you will put even more thought into what this change signifies, or be a reactionary who will try to squash any change in order to protect some real or imagined privilege your currently enjoy.
So… where’s the argument, then?
“Err, imperialism!” isn’t an argument. It’s a statement. And one that is demonstrably false.
How many non-academicians were consulted regarding this half-baked “argument”? How many non-binary Latin and/or Hispanic people? Hell, did you bother to research?
I’m curious why Zadie Smith’s picture is being used to illustrate this article. She is not Latina/x. Did I miss something?
Not all Latino/as speak Spanish. Sou Brasileira, seu chato– educate yourself before going off.
In Spain “Latinx” is considered bullshit and it is not accepted as part of daily life or part of the language. It’s use is bullshit because the X cannot be pronounced.
I think we are so hell-bent on finding a gender-neutral word for everything that we make the language unusable and this is such case.
There is no way to make Spanish a gender-neutral language. It is impossible without changing the core of the etymology and pronunciation and that is unworkable in a short period of time. That would require at least two to three generations.
There are ways to make Spanish more inclusive. Personally I use masculine and feminine as gender neutral in my books. The RAE (the body that regulates how Spanish evolves) says the masculine is inclusive. I say no.
In some of my books sometimes I use the masculine as neutral and in some I use the feminine. That is against the rules but it does not detract from anything other than a decision made centuries ago by men that masculine and neutral were the same.
I don’t invent words. I don’t need to. Words are already there and they can’t change. I will not say “la cocha” instead of “el coche” (the car) and I will certainly not say “le cochx” to make it neutral.
Furthermore, I think changing the language to fit our social agendas in this way is just a lazy way to go about it. It is a means to stop learning how to use the language and simply bending it because we can’t be bothered to learn how to write differently.
The fight for a more inclusive Spanish is there, for sure, but this is not the way to go about it.
Al 100% te apoyo FIERRO PARIENTE!!!
this is a lil much. masculine/feminime words in spanish have nothing to do with gender or sex.
it is simply the format for conversation.
not to mention, Latino/Latina does not refer to THE PPL’s biological or even ethnic makeup. but the regional language they use.
if u live in Latin America, u are latino/latina because the langue u speak has a heavy LATIN influence. As opposed to Hispanics, who have a heavy NATIVE influence.
man, ppl are silly.
if ppl are really this stuck on term identifiers, they should learn the difference of gender n sex. Their gender is a sociological identifier. NOT a biological one like Sex.
but if they are REALLY stressed out enough to pretend masc/fem terms are dependent on ppl’s genders/or sex..
They can say “LATIN”.. why even use the X?
better yet, use HISPANIC since it’s already hispanics calling themselves LATINO/LATINA when they are in fact, NOT of Latin America.
I’m more disgruntled on ppl calling me, A Mexican, “Wpanish.”
I’m not from Spain. Nor do i have pale skin or reddish/light brown hair.
Let’s focused on actual sensible issues than minor ones that are a bit over exaggerated in the first place.
Ok i just walked into this whole situation of “latinx” when i heard a leftist protester use it. But i have to say the only ones using this made up word are the leftist idealogs whom i disagree with on 99% of there points. The term should be disavowed “gender nonconforming” is a made up term and queer was used as a pejorative to demean gay people but on a side note i am glad to see that it has been “reformed” so to speak so good on them im glad they could take a negative and turn it into a possitive but there are only 2 genders/sexes (the term sex and gender are used interchangeably and have been for decades) male and female if you believe otherwise you have your facts completely wrong and need to educate yourself these so-called gender neutral labels people are foisting on us are ridiculous, biology doesnt care about how you subjective feel about your body. That tangent aside spanish speaking people stay true to your Heritage be proud of it and dont let the leftist “progressives” alter or change it in any way you disagree with.
Bottom line, no one in Spain or Latin America use this term. It is an American anglo term by definition. Feel free to use it, travel anywhere in the Americas and they don’t know what the fuck you are talking about and think to themselves privately “crazy gringos”
LATIÑÉ / LATIÑÉS
or … Latiñé / Latiñés!
“On the other hand, when we refer to groups using the masculine ending, the group could either be exclusively males or a mix of people.” Not quite, as it can be more options, such as irrelevant or unknown. I don’t speak Spanish, only Portuguese, but it should hopefully be the same thing. The “masculine” ending forms can mean anything that isn’t females only.
— Someone can say that “los profesores” in a certain room are chatting too loud, and not even know what gender they are, because they didn’t look thoroughly inside the room at them to check that, and more importantly because it doesn’t matter, but they do know that they are teachers who are in there, creating a case where the “masculine” ending is an ending used when gender doesn’t matter one bit, just to mean everyone, not talking about gender, just like the words don’t specify if they are liberals or democrats or whatever, not saying anything about certain traits like that.
— Then somebody can say that they would prefer to have a female teacher and someone else say that they would prefer a male teacher and conclude with “we don’t know who’s the profesor assigned to us.” The “masculine” ending here is actually an unknown, yet relevant, gender ending here, expressing not knowing.
— Then, if there’s a sports team of men and women, and we know that and take it into consideration, the “masculine” ending is also used to treat it, working actually as a “mixed gender” ending.
So therefore, the supposed “masculine” ending is actually the language’s every-possibility always to be used case. There is only one exception. For females only, a special case is used to treat them. THAT’s the irregular odd-one-out, which unlike the all the other possibilities, is the only one that gets its own ending. Think about it: Unknown gender–has it’s own ending? Nope, uses the general one. Mixed gender–has its own ending? Nope, uses the general one. Masculine gender–has its own ending? Nope, uses the general one. Irrelevant gender–has it’s own ending? Nope, uses the general one. Female gender–has it’s own ending? Yes, and how come, this is the odd-one-out, the only one like this.
So if you want equality, favor using “-os” and don’t make an exceptional special case just for women. For example, if you’re into changing the language a little bit because of this, you can say that you like “lo profesor” that you got, even though you know that they’re a woman, because that’s not explicitly relevant, and so there’s no need to specify it.
I can agree with every other person who says “Latinx” should not be used. This comes from people who don’t know much of Spanish culture. Most who are americans or not spanish speakers. I am not saying that you guys are wrong, I respect your opinions. The thing I feel that is happening is that we as Spanish Speakers are being taken down. The people are trying to change our language and they don’t even own it. I believe the are trying to feel more powerful, since they think the can come up and just change whatever they want to. Don’t let this term enter your head.
What’s the matter with the word Latin? It’s sexy. Hey, you know that Latin guy who lives down the hall??
The whole thing about Latinx is that it shows the user is virtuous; they are telegraphing their support and love for transgender and nonbinary people. And it’s biggest with the chattering class, and they just can’t shut up about virtuous they are.
Who cares if only 1 in 100 Latin people want to be called Latinx? What the 99% want doesn’t matter. What matters is the show of virtue signaling.
It’s awesome in favor of me to have a website,
which is beneficial in support of my experience.
íYanquis basta ya! íFuera de my idioma natal!
interesting, and I enjoyed reading them. I grew up speaking Spanish, I only moved to the United States when I was 34. So I’m not going to be using latinx because it does sound very strange to me, but I do understand how the term Latino is important to people growing up here in the United States. And how people who don’t identify with a gender feel like they are not included in the term Latino/a.
It is true that when Spanish speakers who don’t live in the USA identify themselves is by the country they are from, like I am española or that person is colombiana and so on.
So on the one hand it seems like the problem is that we need a term to encompass a cultural identity as well as gender and I really don’t know how that can be solved. On the other hand there exists the practical problem of how to refer to a certain population of the United States.
I work at a school, and it often has come up that we need to refer to all the students who speak Spanish. If the “United Statians” need a generic term for all of us who speak Spanish what about Spanish speakers? One thing that everybody has in common is that they speak the same language (apart from their native language, like Mayan, Quechua, Kuna, etc). And Spanish speaker is a gender neutral term.
I’ll keep thinking about it!
Spanish Speaker is a gender neutral term as well as latin american, they could use latin american as a gender neutral term to refer to latinos, or latines, wich is a compatible term to our latin languages, latinx makes no sense in any latin language, and when we are talking about a foreign culture, nothing better and more respectfull than mirroring the term that they use to theirselves
Okay, so my perspective on this may be a bit different since I’m quite young and a latina living in London.
I’m seeing a lot of replies that talk about trying to imagine someone who only speaks spanish in South America, trying to describe themselves as “yo soy latinx” but I didn’t think that was the aim of the term. I thought that ‘LATINX’ was to be used when addressing what would’ve been the ‘LATINO’ community so instead of saying latino and risking the marginalisation of minorities such as the LGBTQ+ community you should just say the ‘LATINX’.
By refering to us as the Latinx community you are acknowledging everyone within that community that may often get overlooked. Then it becomes the decision of the individual depending of what they identify as (don’t quote me, I don’t know enough about this) then decide for themselves and without the presure of others on whether they are comfortable with the term ‘latino, latina, latinx’ or lo que la persona misma quiera.
The introduction of the term shouldn’t be causing such a big divide within the community, I personally think it’s a positive adittion to the language even though it’s mainly used by englosh speakers. Which is also okay as at least they are recognising the diversity.
I don’t think anyone is trying to change the spanish dictionaries and ban the fact that the spanish language is gendered, it is just simply a case of a new term being introduced which may allow individuals to be more comfortable.
Today was the first time I had seen/heard Latinx in my life. If struck me as an odd word to use in English, because it looks like it should rhyme with lynx or larynx. I think the author has a point in that this X is not very respectful of traditional Spanish norms. It seems that some people go out of their way to pretend that they are somehow excluded by an all-encompassing term such as Latinos. I don’t particularly reflect on the gender of words used to describe me. They are not a reflection of who I am; they are a reflection of the language’s history. A man in French is un homme, but when that man is a person, or a recruit then he is une personne and une recrue. There are many gendered languages, but that doesn’t mean that they need to be overhauled to include the plethora of genders that people have adopted for their personal identity. I have no qualms with masculine, feminine or neutral pronouns-articles being used to describe me. The efforts to artificially change the way people speak and write seem like overkill. Having Xs to replace vowels in Spanish looks unsightly to this non-Spanish speaking person. It seems to take away from the beauty that is the Spanish language. It masks the natural fluidity and mellifluousness of Spanish. I don’t care that it was brought to the New World from Spain. That doesn’t diminish its usefulness or its beauty, nor should it make its speakers feel any guilt. Spanish is beautiful and English speakers should not be imposing their values on Spanish.