Inclusiveness and pronouns

Singular they, genre pronouns and other misunderstandings

 «Je est an autre», «Me And another », the young Rimbaud begun in his famous Letter of the seer, immediately confusing the reader with a outfit grammatical deformation. Recently, Demi Lovato, an American singer-songwriter and actress, declaring her non-Binaria identity, asked that she no longer refers to her person with pronouns (female and singular) She/Her, but with the third person plural They/Them. In short, a out of tune, in the ear, similar to that of Rimbaud. However, if the poet saw in the lack of concordance an escape from subjectivism and his identity, Demi Lovato finds in this operation a means of enhancing it. To make things clear, it would be said in a few words.

It is good to proceed in order. By literally translating from English, it is easy for us Italians to confusion. If the Italian correspondent They It is correct from a grammatical point of view, in fact, the use that Demi Lovato makes it is another, what is indicated in English as Singular they, The Ayy Singular, and has the function of neutral singular pronoun. A few cry of protest rises from the world of the Internet: it already exists IT! It is true, it is sacrosanct, but it is used in reference to things or animals! Why never, we ask ourselves, someoneə that is not identified neither in the male nor in the female should debased to Shareə with the pronoun IT? The shape of the Singular they, then, it allows the English language to expand its linguistic spectrum by going to include those who cannot (and do not want) to identify themselves in canonical polarization She/Her - He/Him. But it is not, however, a new form. The blog Terminology, curated by the linguist Licia Corbolante, demonstrates its attestation already six hundred years ago, although its use was intended only in the case of an indefinite subject (Anyone, nobody...) or when the genre does not know (for example the generic Friend). Now, in light of gender claims, it is starting to extend this form, exploiting its inclusive potential implicit in favor of a linguistic inclusion. And it is a rather rapid and widespread extension, if we consider that Instagram (for the moment in the United Kingdom and in the USA) has recently announced the introduction of gender pronouns in the biography of the profile.

Italian, of course, behaves in a different way. As regards plurals and indefinite subjects (someone,Nobody...) Grammatically use the so -called overhest male, which includes different genres in itself. In addition, in our language nouns, adjectives and verbs have endings that indicate the genre (Friend / friend...), distinguishing more categorically than English. For this reason, there is no possibility of a pronoun that goes to include a neutral, precisely because it is a genre not foreseen by our grammar: They/ThemTherefore, it is untranslatable. So, no, Demi Lovato does not demand that he tells us to his person as They, but in a form that, for now, does not exist in our language. Still, there is a need. Because non-Biain identity, by force of things, also exist in Italy, and perhaps it would be time to find a pronominal solution that meets their needs. The introduction of a neutral pronoun in those languages ​​that do not foresee it, is part of a wider mechanism of sociolinguistic evolution that does nothing but reflect the needs, claims and social battles that today govern the public scene . All this must not be perceived as an aggression towards our language, or a strange form of syntactic-grammatic terrorism, but as one of the many symbols of a legitimate struggle, which needs to be felt on several fronts. Language is a social factor, and as such is affected by social fluidity: the use of the form "tutt*" / "tuttə, for example, recalls a problem, extrelinguistic alas, of exclusivity and gender discrimination. So make use of these forms, therefore, a position is primarily: not necessary from a grammar point of view, but social yes. It means realizing that between the public to which we are referring to that  "Tutt*" (or "allə) There are very different realities and identities, all to be placed on the same level. It is not, then, a grammatical or linguistic revolution in the strict sense; In this case, the language is rather a means for an end: gender inclusiveness.


On personal pronouns, the debate is now opened more than ever, and it happens that paladins of the language or society, from both fronts, expose and indignation without having the complicated linguistic mechanisms in mind. This, perhaps, does not matter. What is important, we believe, is the scope that social and gender battles (in all their facets) have on the public scene; even if between various misunderstandings, incorrect translations and stiffests, linclusiveness is a problem that we are talking about. After years of silence, abuses and injustices, we are experiencing a moment of struggle somehow revolutionary, which obliges even the most remaining to reflect on the society diversification of the society, forces to realize that some individuals are more discriminated against others , or even not even taken into consideration. Now let's hear their voices. Now let's talk about it. Finally.


Enrico Ponzio


Ti è piaciuto l'articolo?
Join the mestrual revolution

Leave a comment

Add other products to the cart