La lengua degenerada

Sol Minoldo, Juan Cruz Balian

Affiliation: El Gato y La Caja Journal. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Keywords: the degenerated language, lengua y lenguaje, grammar, el gato y la caja, journal project.

Categories: Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

DOI: 10.17160/josha.7.2.651

Languages: Spanish, Castilian

Languages that attribute a grammatical gender to objects might induce a biased effect on how these objects are perceived. In a famous study by Lera Boroditsky, a list of 24 reverse-gendered nouns was prepared in Spanish and German. In each language, half of them were feminine and half masculine. Native Spanish and German speakers were shown the nouns, written in English, and asked about the first three adjectives that came to their minds. For instance, the word key is masculine in German. German speakers described keys as hard, heavy, metallic, and useful. In contrast, Spanish speakers described them as golden, small, adorable, shiny, and tiny. Conversely, the word bridge is feminine in German, and German speakers described bridges as beautiful, elegant, fragile, pretty, quiet, slender. Spanish speakers said that they were big, dangerous, strong, resistant, imposing, and long. In the most impactful article from El Gato y La Caja community so far, Sol Minoldo and Juan Cruz Balián discuss the evidence supporting this concept and how this scenario aggravates inequities, as well as some of the available alternatives to overcome this situation.

Community Rating: Your Rating:

Leave a comment


Roland Mertelsmann

31. Mar

A brilliant article about the different perceptions of the same word in different languages. Communication is more complex than we think.

Laura Carasevici

11. Jun

In this wonderfully written paper the authors aim to achieve a balance between the importance of the existence of an inclusive language, governed by the political correctness norm, and the right of a language not to get involved in a political fight meant to make the world more egalitarian. More specifically, in light of the hypothesis of linguistic relativity, the authors review a series of studies which have shown that there is a relationship between language and thought, between the grammatical gender and the masculine and feminine characteristics that people attach to objects. If language has this power and influence on human mind, the question that the authors pose is whether language can have an effect on the perpetuation of androcentric sexual stereotypes and what can be done in this regard? Languages that attach a grammatical gender to objects have found various and creative solutions. The use of “/” in order to mention both the feminine and the masculine is one of these solutions. If, as the authors point out, these linguistic solutions of political correctness may disrupt the natural flow of a language, they may at the same time draw attention on the social issue at stake, shaking thus a little bit the structure of that language, which can only show that languages are alive and constantly changing although sometimes without people noticing it.