Productive lockdown and gender-neutral issues

It’s called “productive lockdown”, when most of us have to stay at home we find ourselves with time on our hands, so we can do all the things we always said we didn’t have the time to do! So let’s be productive, bake our own bread, have an exercise routine, read some classics, learn a new skill. And why not learn a foreign language or brush up our skills. Plenty of apps are there to help, and you don’t have to worry about social distancing with a teacher on Messenger or Zoom.

So it’s not only French, in Argentina there is also a movement to to make Spanish grammar less centered on male terms, to the extent that the President himself addressed the people as “Argentines” instead of Argentinos and Argentinas. In Spanish grammar the plural (-os) is based on the masculine (-o) and includes the feminine (-a), and the form -es doesn’t exist, just like the problem it’s trying to solve (says the Royal Spanish Academy).

Speakers of endangered languages are not preoccupied with the gender-neutral issues, they would be happy enough to read some content in their own language. The problem is that there are nearly 7,000 languages and dialects in the world, but 98% of the internet’s web pages are published in just 12 languages, and more than half of them are in English. The major problem for indigenous cultures is the access to online resources, but there are also technical problems, for instance the keyboards are designed only for major languages.

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