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The RAE criticizes Congress’ recommendations for a non-sexist use of language | Culture

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Headquarters of the Royal Spanish Academy, in Madrid.Andrea Comas

The Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) criticized the document this Tuesday Recommendations for a non-sexist use of language in the Parliamentary Administration, which was agreed by the Board of Cortes on December 5. The RAE wanted to clarify that this text said that it had been prepared taking into account “the current grammatical rules and recommendations” of the Report on inclusive language and related issues, which the academy published in January 2020. It denies that its position on this issue coincides “totally” with that of the Congressional Board. It even refers to the fact that the very title of that document from the Table “implies that speakers who do not apply the resources set forth therein express themselves in sexist language.” The RAE also warns that the recommendations of the Table, as stated in the document at the beginning, seek to “promote all social, cultural and artistic relations.”

The “most conflictive point,” the RAE points out in its statement, of what was agreed by the Board is in “the so-called inclusive masculine, on which there are fundamental discrepancies.” The institution points out that the Table “dedicates several pages to presenting various ways to replace it” with different examples. “The Congress Board understands that expressions such as ‘about two thousand attendees’ should not be used, since they contain the indefinite masculine ‘some’. It is recommended to instead say ‘approximately two thousand attendees.’ After this note, the academic Arturo Pérez-Reverte, very belligerent against these linguistic uses, has published on the social network plum. Approved in the plenary session last Thursday. “Unanimously.”

In its text, the Table also indicated that “the forms ‘the one’ or ‘those who’ used with inclusive value should be avoided.” For the RAE, then, “the expression ‘those who have elderly care’ excludes women from that group of people, so that ‘those who’ should be replaced by ‘who’.” “It should be understood, in an analogous way, that the expression ‘those of us who live and work in Spain’ excludes women, according to the authors of the document.”

Another example of sexist language for Congress, collected by the RAE: “It should not be said ‘the users’, but ‘the users’. The editors of the text do not seem to care that the substitute expression is extremely forced for any Spanish speaker, just as it would be – speaking of cinema – to replace ‘the spectators’ with ‘the spectators’. The text of the Table added that “(these uses) must be adapted as long as they do not change the meaning.” “On the other hand, it omits that the suggested substitutions can suppress relevant nuances, which speakers would not have to give up,” the academy believes.

Pointing out several examples, the RAE explains that “on multiple occasions” it has argued that “the masculine gender is inclusive (in Spanish and many other languages) in a large number of contexts.” “We have explained that the fact that it is not in some cases should not lead to the absurd conclusion that it never is.”

In other cases pointed out by the Board, the RAE recognizes that its recommendations have been taken into account, “such as avoiding the use of the at sign as a wildcard for the vowels -o and -a (for example, in parliamentarians). @s), as well as the letters –X (lxs parlamentarixs) and -e (les parlamentaries).” For the RAE, this “represents considerable progress in relation to some previous texts from the State Administration.”

When consulted by EL PAÍS, the board’s presidential team did not want to comment on the RAE’s note. A spokesperson recalled that the recommendations were written to advance compliance with the Congressional Equality Plan. He has also stressed that in this matter “new words are not invented, it is simply advisable to use terms that exist in the dictionary and that are more inclusive.” “For example, civil service instead of civil servant.” Finally, they point out from the Table that “we will not stop supporting inclusive language, because language also marks the thinking of society.”

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