[Ads-l] Latinx

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 24 11:59:39 EDT 2020

For decades I was paid by a large university in a popular state to be an
arbiter of style, at least some of the time.

But on to larger things.

As for those studies so often alleged to show the power of grammatical
gender to direct how we think and live, consider this recent statement:

"[A]part from a strong version, which assumes that language strictly
determines thinking and that language categories limit and determine
cognitive categories, there is a weaker version of the linguistic
relativity _hypothesis_ [emphasis added], which states that language
influences cognitive processes only under certain circumstances, especially
in tasks where grammatical coding is necessary."

----  J. Maciuzek, Mateusz Polak, Natalia Swiatowska, "Grammatical Gender
Influences Semantic Categorization and Implicit Cognition in Polish."
(2019).  https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02208/full

After more than 80 years, Whorf-Sapir, stronger and weaker, seems to remain
a hypothesis, despite all those musings about "Eskimo words for snow." And
discussions of it usually treat structures more likely to influence
consequential thought than the grammatical gender of (emphasis here:)
occasional foreign words adopted into English.

Seriously, is there any study that shows that imported grammatical
gendering powerfully influences how we think, what we pay, who we hire, who
goes to good schools, who marries who, or anything else of public
significance?  Or are claims of such subtle yet powerful influencing a kind
of wishful thinking?  If they're true,  powerless academics with esoteric
degrees scorned by millions can fight them almost effortlessly and feel
superior while (unfortunately) accomplishing next to nothing, and on
questionable premises.

And do I detect a sad, unexamined assumption (unworthy of linguists) that
one's dislike of a _word_ (like {Latin@}, which is orthographically a bit
worse than {Latinx}), must extend invidiously to the word's _human
referents_?   I hope not.  My objections to {Latinx} are that it looks and
sounds like a gimmick (or a cleaning product or a tissue paper for the
nose), is impossible to pronounce correctly without special instruction,
and has at least one less tendentious, more readily comprehensible synonym
at hand.

Finally, it's surprising to see, in this forum, how confidently a jaunty
statement of opinion, secondary to the report of an interesting neologism,
can be misinterpreted as a flagrant assertion of a refutable fact.


On Mon, Aug 24, 2020 at 4:53 AM Chris Waigl <chris at lascribe.net> wrote:

> Dave Wilton everything that needs to be said.
> The only reason I would like to add some points is because Michael
> Everson's contribution contains some statements I find too questionable to
> leave uncommented.
> On Sun, Aug 23, 2020 at 5:11 AM Michael Everson <everson at evertype.com>
> wrote:
> > > On 17 Aug 2020, at 20:50, Chris Waigl <chris at LASCRIBE.NET> wrote:
> > >
> > > The Latinx terminology is an effort to deal with a tiny aspect of how
> > bigotry creeps into language.
> >
> > Nonsense.
> Charming.
> Romance languages have grammatical gender. This is not bigotry.
> It's a good thing, then, that I haven't claimed such a thing.
> My sentence that you quoted above would indeed make a very very odd
> introduction of what Latinx means. You left out its context, which was that
> it was part of a first response to Jonathan Lighter's introduction of the
> bigotry red herring ("turning an aesthetic issue like spelling into a
> political issue like bigotry is wrongheaded and potentially destructive").
> What I'm saying in the above sentence is that insofar that bigotry factors
> into the choice of "Latinx" it plays an extremely minor role.
> > Should actual speakers of such languages find a need to distinguish a
> > third form for such nouns, -x will absolutely not be their choice.
> >
> > [...]
> >
> > But it’s not. It’s most likely monoglot English speakers saying “we need
> a
> > substitute for “a” and “o” and why don’t we use the algebraic “x” because
> > we remember it from high school maths” and so we get this silliness.
> Why "most likely"? You were able to pick the parts out of the Wikipedia
> article that you felt supported your point (FSVO), but were unable to find
> the parts that talk about the origin of the term? There sure are enough
> speakers of Spanish, or Americans of Spanish-speaking cultural origin,
> involved. In any event, the discussion in this thread was never about
> Latinx in *Spanish *but in *English. *
> The uses I see that are explicit refer to people of Latino/a/x background
> or identity who work and/or live in the United States, whether they grew up
> there or not. I see the term used by both people of this background (I'm
> thinking of an NPR host whose show I listen to) and of non-Hispanic
> background, always with the understanding that the term is constructed to
> be gender-inclusive.
> I it well-constructed? Time will tell! Maybe you prefer Latin@? I see an
> anthology of sci-fi writers came out in 2015 under the title "Latin@
> Rising", and the 2020 edition is called "Latinx Rising". One of the artists
> in it identifies as Latin at . They're born in Mexico, educated there and in
> Brazil and work in the US.
> Again, I'm making no judgement about the appropriateness or chances of
> success or aesthetic qualities. I'm just writing on what I hear and
> understand, and find the amount of spite and animus that what should be a
> simple conversation about English usage in the United States quite
> repugnant.
> Chris
> > Yes, silliness. Because I don’t know if it’s /laˈtineks/ or /laˈtiŋks/
> and
> > I don’t live anywhere where I can ask anyone and if it’s meant to be the
> > former than it’s a _poor_ orthographic choice. If they want people to say
> > /laˈtineks/ then they should write “latinex” because that form will
> elicit
> > the pronunciation desired.
> >
> > But I doubt that speakers of Spanish or Portuguese have much interest in
> > that. It’s not an endonym for them. It’s an exonym from the United
> States.
> > The Wikipedia has an article on “Latinx”. From it:
> >
> > =====
> > Reactions to the term have been mixed. Supporters say it engenders
> greater
> > acceptance among non-binary Latinos by being gender-neutral and thus
> > inclusive of all genders. Critics say the term does not follow
> traditional
> > grammar, is difficult to pronounce, and is disrespectful toward
> > conventional Spanish. Both supporters and detractors point to linguistic
> > imperialism as a reason for respectively supporting or opposing the use
> of
> > the term. A 2019 poll found that use of Latinx has grown to 2% nationwide
> > in the United States (with a 5% margin of error). A 2020 Pew Research
> > Center survey found that 23% of respondents had heard of the term, while
> > 76% had not.[4] Of the respondents that had heard of "Latinx"; 3% used
> the
> > term, while 12% "expressed disagreement or dislike of the term". The
> Royal
> > Spanish Academy style guide does not recognize the suffix -x.
> >
> > Pronunciations of Latinx documented in dictionaries include /ləˈtiːnɛks,
> > læ-, lɑː-, -nəks, ˈlætɪnɛks/ lə-TEE-neks, la(h)-, -⁠nəks, LAT-in-eks.
> Other
> > variants respelled ad hoc as "Latins", "La-tinks", or "Latin-equis" have
> > also been reported. Editors at Merriam-Webster surmised that "more than
> > likely, there was little consideration for how it was supposed to be
> > pronounced when it was created".
> > =====
> >
> > M
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> --
> 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

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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