[Ads-l] Latinx

Chris Waigl chris at LASCRIBE.NET
Mon Aug 17 22:31:24 EDT 2020

On Mon, Aug 17, 2020 at 1:15 PM Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com> wrote:

> The topic of this conversation was the general use of Latinx, not one that
> applies only to those of non-binary gender.

Sure, but the genesis and rise of the term can't be separated by the
intention to be gender-inclusive specifically in a way that includes
non-binary genders. The Yahoo! News article about the Pew survey implies
this: If you need a term to talk about how someone shot and killed a bunch
of queer people, you're bound to get a term that's inclusive of the gender
identies you find among queer people.

You comment about a popular vote was a clear preference for making the
> majority of people swallow it, since their opinion doesn't matter to you.

Make ... people ... swallow?

Your use of "clear" does a whole lot of work here. In a long-standing group
of people with a scholarly interest in dialects and usage, I didn't think
I'd have to spell this out: We aren't usually basing our
judgement substantially on opinion surveys when we assess the viability of
some usage or other in some speaker community or other. And wouldn't you
expect that widely cast surveys nearly every time find that innovations are
a) unknown to a large percentage of people and b) rejected by quite a few?
For practically any innovation I would expect the initial attitudes to be
negative - some are found too crass, some too artificial, and then there's
the old chestnut of "what's wrong with [old word]?!?!?!," advanced in a
bellicose manner as if it were an argument. Saying that usage shifts by
people acutally using language rather than under the pressure of polls and
surveys doesn't mean people's opinion doesn't matter to me. (Not that it
sounded all that negative in the first place from the survey...)

Hell, I don't even use the word! I mean, I might, but I tend to be fairly
conservative and veer on the side of terminology I've already assimilated,
and in what public speaking I do this particular topic doesn't tend to come
up much. If it were to, I would probably consult some trusted sources about
what the up-to-date terminology should be. If put on the spot I'm just as
likely to say "Latino and Latina" as "Latinx". After this thread I'm more
used to Latinx than I was before... But if in 10 years we all say "yeah,
there used to be this term, "Latinx", back in the 2010s, but people didn't
warm to it and we say XYZ now" that's completely fine with me.

Concluding that I'm trying to shove some usage down your throat
(personally!) just because I object to people pointing and sneering at it
is quite a non-sequitur.

BTW, opinions about the aesthetics of a term are always legitimate, since
> they are opinions about aesthetics.

I'd get off-topic here, so I'll leave this at saying that our aesthetic
judgements are surely influenced by our biases, prejudices and bigotries,
and you can be assured that I take mine to tune-up and maintenance in
regular intervals.

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list