GENDER IN LANGUAGE PROJECT


GLOBAL PORTUGUESE




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Portuguese is a masculine-feminine gender language and the ninth-most spoken language in the world as a result of European colonialism. All nouns (including those describing people) must be masculine or feminine grammatically and there are very few ways to avoid gendering people in speech.


Across the Lusophone world, nonbinary and other queer speakers have popularized many gender-inclusive forms, including the personal pronouns elu, ilu, ile, and ili. These pronouns form part of the inclusive grammatical genders (e, i) that characterize gender-inclusive Portuguese.


While there are differing opinions on what certain gender-inclusive forms signify, they have been created so that nonbinary people have adequate language to self-identify. They have also been proposed to solve the issue of gender-neutrality. Globally, the most popular gender-inclusive Portuguese forms are:



GENDER-INCLUSIVE PERSONAL PRONOUNS

INCLUSIVE GRAMMATICAL GENDERS

elu(s), ilu(s), ile(s)

'they [SG./PL.]'

ili(s)

'they [SG./PL.]'

-e

-i

Elu/ile é ume amigue simpatique.

'They are a kind friend.'

Ili é umi amigi simpatiqui.

'They are a kind friend.'




by SEBASTIAN CLENDENNING-JIMÉNEZ & ZAPHIEL KIRIKO MlLLER

This grammar identifies all sites of gendered personal reference in Portuguese (i.e. everywhere that the gender of the word aligns with the gender of the referent). We display prescriptive masculine and feminine forms as well as forms in two inclusive linguistic genders (e, i), which you may see by clicking on the selector below. This grammar does not identify the sites of Portuguese grammar that do not have gendered personal references, like the entire verbal system. Sections in gray represent "gray areas" which lack consensus about whether or not they should be transformed. Attestations of these genders are listed in References below. This grammar is a living document that intends to show a nonexhaustive list of examples for each lexical class considered open.

ABOUT THE INCLUSIVE GENDERS

In reviewing attestations of inclusive forms in Portuguese, we have identified two inclusive genders: the e gender and the i gender. The canonical gender morpheme of the e gender is e (IPA: [e]), though the allomorph u (IPA: [u]) appears when inclusive words ending in e would be the same as masculine forms ending in e (e.g. chefe chefu 'chef'). Though this gender contains two allomorphs (e, u), we have chosen to name it the e gender because there are relatively fewer cases of overlap which trigger the allomorph u to surface. The allomorph u is pronounced the same as the canonically masculine gender morpheme o (IPA: [u]), hence why it only surfaces in cases of overlapping forms where the masculine form ends in e. This gender has multiple attested canonical personal pronouns (elu, ilu, ile). In the case of elu, this pronoun surfaces with the u allomorph as the masculine form is ele. Ilu and ile are additional inclusive personal pronouns attested in community grammars featuring the canonical e morpheme in nouns. For this reason, we have integrated these pronouns with the e gender. The i gender as attested is more straightforward, featuring the canonical gender morpheme i and the canonical personal pronoun ili. In cases where the i is duplicated because an i precedes the gender morpheme (producing ii), we have represented these forms with a single i (e.g. varios varis 'various, several'). It is imperative to note that not all inclusive forms listed for this gender have been attested by speakers and are instead a result of extending the existing paradigm of inclusive e in Portuguese.


PERSONAL PRONOUNS


MASCULINE


FEMININE

INCLUSIVE


E I

eu

você, tu

ele, ela

nós, a gente

vocês, vós

eles, elas

ele

'he'

eles

'they [PL.]'

ela

'she'

elas

'they [PL.]'

elu, ilu, ile

'they [SG.]'

elus, ilus, iles

'they [PL.]'

In the Portuguese personal pronominal system, two out of the six possible person and number combinations have masculine-feminine gendered distinctions prescriptively. While speakers may avoid gendering others by using the referent's name or referring to them indirectly (e.g. João é uma pessoa simpática. 'João is a kind person.'), gendered distinctions permeate the language. For this reason, speakers have created inclusive personal pronouns.



CANONICAL -O / -A NOUNS



MASCULINE



FEMININE



INCLUSIVE—E

These paired nouns have distinct masculine and feminine forms which differ only by canonical gender morpheme (o [M.], a [F.]). This morpheme is replaced by an inclusive morpheme, though orthographic changes are necessary when the consonants g and c precede the gender morpheme (e.g. músico músique) to preserve the sound of the word in writing.

amigo

'friend'

músico

'musician'

médico

'doctor'

irmão

'brother'

menino

'boy'

moço

'young man'

filho

'son'

aluno

'student'

adulto

'adult'

carteiro

'mailman'

dançarino

'dancer'

bailarino

'ballet dancer'

amiga

'friend'

música

'musician'

médica

'doctor'

irmã

'sister'

menina

'girl'

moça

'young woman'

filha

'daughter'

aluna

'student'

adulta

'adult'

carteira

'mailwoman'

dançarina

'dancer'

bailarina

'ballet dancer'

amigue

'friend'

músique

'musician'

médique

'doctor'

irmãe

'sibling'

menine

'kid'

moçe, moce

'young person'

filhe

'child'

alune

'student'

adulte

'adult'

carteire

'mail carrier'

dançarine

'dancer'

bailarine

'ballet dancer'



NONCANONICAL NOUNS



MASCULINE



FEMININE



INCLUSIVE—E

These paired nouns have distinct masculine and feminine forms with noncanonical gender morphology (e.g. e [M.], a [F.]), including cases where the masculine morpheme is null (ø [M.],

a [F.]) In this latter case, morphemes are realized overtly on inclusive forms so that the surface inclusive form is not the same as the masculine.

professor

'professor/teacher'

autor

'author'

pintor

'painter'

governador

'governor'

agricultor

'farmer'

contador

'accountant'

chefe

'boss'

espião

'spy'

lavador

'washer (person who washes)'

engomador

'ironer (person who irons clothes)'

professora

'professor/teacher'

autora

'author'

pintora

'painter'

governadora

'governor'

agricultora

'farmer'

contadora

'accountant'

chefa

'boss'

espiã

'spy'

lavadeira

'washer (person who washes)'

engomadeira

'ironer (person who irons clothes)'

professore

'professor/teacher'

autore

'author'

pintore

'painter'

governadore

'governor'

agricultore

'farmer'

contadore

'accountant'

chefu

'boss'

espie

'spy'

lavade

'washer (person who washes)'

engomade

'ironer (person who irons clothes)'


CITE THIS PAGE

APA 7

Clendenning-Jiménez, S., Miller, Z. K., Papadopoulos, B. & Agramont-Justiniano, G. E. (2022). Global Portuguese. Gender in Language Project. www.genderinlanguage.com/portuguese