Masculine, feminine, and neutral? Around the grammatical gender


“Are you coming from the groom or the bride?” the head of the salon asked the first guest who was waiting in line to be told which table to sit at.

“Both of us,” he replied to the maitre d’.

“Oh no, it can’t be!” You must define yourself by one of the two options.

“But they both invited me, what do you want me to tell him?”

—Well, the indications I have are very clear and I have no room for ambiguous options like yours.

“Are you calling me equidistant to my face?”

“I wouldn’t think of it!” And now, if you don’t mind, step aside while you make up your mind, and let the next one through.

Serve this surreal conversation to throw ourselves without a float into the pool of grammatical gender.

Although language serves to describe the reality in which human beings interact, there are aspects in which this is not always the case. For this reason, while people no longer identify only with the category of feminine and masculine, Spanish grammar only contemplates that binomial.

But the problem is that sex is not the same as gender, when we talk about language, according to the RAE. Gender, linguistically speaking, does not express, a priori, biological sex. As if that were not enough, this differentiation between the masculine and feminine grammatical gender has implications for the agreement of nouns, determiners, quantifiers, adjectives and pronouns. That is why the Academy is so reluctant, for the moment, to accept the morpheme e (elle, niñe…) to talk about those who do not identify with either of these two sexes.

In addition, grammatically the morpheme e is also masculine in certain cases, such as augmentatives (big/big). And one more reflection: Why she elle and not elli or ellu? To this is added that it is not yet a very widespread and generalized use, despite the fact that more and more speakers differentiate between him, her and her.

But natural languages ​​are living entities and are constantly changingand if that use ends up being imposed by the consensus of all the speakers, the grammatical norm will also change, no matter who it is.

Patience, then, we are arrieritos and on the way we will meet. And please keep calm and let’s not kill the messenger.