Re: Inclusive Language (fwd)

Heather Young-Leslie (youngl@FHS.CSU.MCMASTER.CA)
Sun, 27 Nov 1994 19:51:52 +0500

I took the liberty of forwarding a query on gendered language
to Femisa: here is the first reply.
I regret to say I will not be participating in the discussion for
a while - I'm going to be off-line until a few personal deadlines are met...
Heather Young-Leslie
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Ont. Midwifery Programme (McMaster) Anthropology, York University
Fontbonne Bldg, St. Joe's Hosp. Vari Hall, 4700 Keele St.
Hamilton. 521 6015 North York. 736-5261

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 1994 13:09:07 -0700
From: Vincent K Pollard <pollard@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: Re: Re: Inclusive Language

This is a brief response to Adrian Tanner's question, forwarded by
Heather Young-Leslie.

I am not a trained linguist, although I have been studying languages
for many years. So, if I understood the question correctly, you might want to
consider Filipino/Tagalog as a possible candidate. Filipino is the national
language of the Philippines. (Filipino used to--and still often is--called
Tagalog. But for purposes of national unity -- and as spelled out in the
current constitution -- the name is spelled Filipino.)

In Filipino, pronouns are not gendered. Siya is a third-person
singular pronoun and may refer to any person (or thing). Sila is the
third-person plural pronoun and, otherwise like siya, may refer to any
persons or things. Nor are any of the other pronouns gendered.

Except for some Spanish imports, adjectives are not gendered. Aside
from those exceptions, the adjective will not give you a clue as to the
gender of the person.

Most nouns are not gendered. This includes a lot of the nouns
denoting personal relationships.

Asawa just means spouse. I don't know if there is a word for wife or
husband. Anak means child. If one wants to refer to her daughter, she might
append a linker and the word for female/woman: Anak kong babae si Maria.
("Maria is my child who is female/woman.")

Kapatid means sibling. If I want to say that Maria is my sister, I
would say: Kapatid kong babae si Maria. ("Maria is my sibling who is a
female/woman" OR "Maria is my female sibling.")

Tao means person. It doesn't mean woman or man. It refers to a woman,
a man, (and, in the explicitly plural mga tao) women, and/or men. Tao seems
to be used much more in situations where an English-speaking second language
learner might expect specificity, as in woman/women (babae/mga babae) or
man/men (lalaki/mga lalaki). In that sense, tao may be a little like homo
(human being) in Latin or the Greek counterpart of homo.

I apologize for any spelling errors. I have typed this directly onto
a VT340 screen and cannot go back to the beginning of my message.

For an expert consultation, you might e-mail either of the following
two scholars in the Department of Hawaiian and Indo-Pacific Languages,
University of Hawai'i at Manoa:

Professor Teresita V. Ramos

Professor Ruth Mabanglo

Vincent Kelly Pollard
Department of Political Science
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
2424 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822-2223
Phone: 808.956.8141
FAX: 808.956.6877