[Ads-l] Latinx

Chris Waigl chris at LASCRIBE.NET
Mon Aug 17 15:07:22 EDT 2020

On Mon, Aug 17, 2020 at 6:49 AM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>

> Except that {Latinx}looks like, and by every rule of orthography ought to
> be pronounced, "latinks," which is self-defeating, no?  {Czech}, on
> the other hand, had no equally confusing rival pronunciation, because the
> "cz" spelling was a simple importation.  Approximations like "tsek" or
> "sek" are hardly analogous to "latinks."

All of those mispronunciations are about the same thing: You don't know how
a spelling that is new to you is supposed to be pronounced, take a stab at
it and get it wrong. Then you get corrected and from then on you know.
(Maybe you need to practice a bit before being able to produce it.)
Importing Czech is no less absurd than inventing latinx.

> There's nothing insensitive about saying a spelling is absurd, especially
> one created ad hoc by presumably lsensitive people.

Attaching derogatory labels ("absurd") on a considered choice for a term
that you are in much less need of than the people who made the choice, is
pretty much a prototype for "insensitiv".

It's no more "absurd" than other examples of letter spellings supposed to
be pronunced like the name of the letter is pronounced, from X-Men to
B-List and Toys'R'Us and the pronunciation of the name Xavier that starts
/eks/, which I hear a lot from native AmE speakers and that surprised me at

> [...]

> I wonder too what proportion of Hispanic people have ever heard of (or,
> more to the point, use or pronounce properly) {Latinx}, or object to the
> existing terminology.

Latinx is specifically about how to represent gender, and I assure you that
the non-binary and genderqueer and trans Hispanic people in the US I know
are quite aware of the term and use it. Also I don't see much of a problem
as just a general gender-inclusive term - it seems to flow quite naturally
from the lips of the people who have most need of it (eg. hosts of radio
shows and podcasts about some cultural artefacts like books, movies, music
etc. produced by authors that can be labeled as Latinx.) Apparently they
liked Latinx better than Latin, I guess because of the associations of
Latin, some of which are pretty sexist.

I'm breaking my self-imposed rule here not to engage with you again (since
I am old enough to be done with put-downs, which have in my experience been
your style of conversation) because I think as a group that cares about
dialects we usually accept that dialects and idiolects will just develop
according to the needs of whoever the speakers are. Judgemental attitudes,
especially from people with social prestige and on purely the base of
aesthetic preference, are not something I find desirable.

We also don't usually show every new-to-us term or spelling or innovation
with the intent to point fingers and sneer.

So if that's the purpose (aka "microaggression"), it's a great choice.  It
> reminds me of those who say that the "correct" name for citizens of the
> United States is "USers" or "USians," for too obvious reasons.  (There are
> such people.)

Speaking of absurd, this analogy strikes me as such.


Chris Waigl . chris.waigl at gmail.com . chris at lascribe.net
http://eggcorns.lascribe.net . http://chryss.eu

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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