Our friends at Babble celebrate the great linguistic changes of the past decade.
We mentioned above how gendered languages can make the inclusivity problem more complex, but that hasn’t stopped other countries and their linguists from introducing new gender-neutral pronouns.
Some languages, including Turkish and certain indigenous languages of the Americas, already have these terms built into them. But for those that don’t, people have to innovate. While languages like Italian and Portuguese are struggling to figure out a way to make gender-neutral pronouns work, other languages have introduced them and they’re starting to catch on.
One relatively successful case study is the Swedish hen. Like English, Swedish has gendered pronouns: han (he) or hon (she), but there wasn’t a non-binary option. Hen was thought to be coined by a linguist in the 1960s who saw this gap in the Swedish language. It was popularized by a children’s book in 2012. Though the debate over whether it’s necessary or “right” rages on, the use of hen has become pretty mainstream across the country.
Other gender-neutral pronouns that are starting to gain traction are the German sie or sier, the French ille/iel, the Russian oni and the Spanish elle. This type of inclusive language has a long way to go before it’s widely accepted, but the 2010s certainly saw a surge of progress in this area.
A surge of progress. The Swedes already had den for “it,” and galen for “crazy.” But, whatever. LOL. #Demise. Some of the progress cited, by this language magazine, would suggest the nicety of not communicating with people in any language. Daz woke!