GENDER IN LANGUAGE PROJECT


INCLUSIVE PARTIAL GRAMMAR OF SPANISH


by JESUS DUARTE, JULIE DURAN, CHANDLER FLIEGE & BEN PAPADOPOULOS

This grammar identifies all sites of gendered personal reference in Spanish (i.e. everywhere that linguistic gender aligns with the social gender of who is being referred to). We display the prescriptive masculine and feminine forms as well as forms in several inclusive linguistic genders (e.g. -x gender, -e gender), which you may see by clicking on the selector below. It does not identify the sites of Spanish 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.


ABBREVIATIONS

[M.]

MASCULINE

[F.]

FEMININE

[I.]

INCLUSIVE

[SG.]

SINGULAR

[PL.]

PLURAL


PERSONAL PRONOUNS


MASCULINE


FEMININE

INCLUSIVE


X E I *

yo

tú, Ud.

él, ella

nosotros, nosotras

vosotros, vosotras, Uds.

ellos, ellas

él

'he'

nosotros

'we'

vosotros

'you all'

ellos

'they [PL.]'

ella

'she'

nosotras

'we'

vosotras

'you all'

ellas

'they [PL.]'

ellx

'they [SG.]'

nosotrxs

'we'

vosotrxs

'you all'

ellxs

'they [PL.]'

In the Spanish personal pronoun system, four out of the six possible person and number combinations have masculine-feminine gendered distinctions prescriptively. While speakers may avoid gendering others by using their name, omitting a pronoun, or referring to them indirectly (e.g. Jaime es una persona simpática. 'Jaime is a kind person.'), gendered distinctions permeate the language. For this reason, speakers have invented inclusive personal pronouns.



CANONICAL -O / -A NOUNS

WHICH REFER TO PEOPLE


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

These paired nouns have different 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 may be necessary with certain vocalic morphemes (e.g. amigo amigue).

amigo

'friend'

chico

'boy'

mozo

'young man'

médico

'doctor'

bombero

'firefighter'

hermano

'brother'

hijo

'son'

amiga

'friend'

chica

'girl'

moza

'young woman'

médica

'doctor'

bombera

'firefighter'

hermana

'sister'

hija

'daughter'

amigx

'friend'

chicx

'kid'

mozx

'young person'

médicx

'doctor'

bomberx

'firefighter'

hermanx

'sibling'

hijx

'child'



NONCANONICAL NOUNS

WHICH REFER TO PEOPLE


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

These paired nouns have different masculine and feminine forms which have noncanonical morphology (e.g. -e [M.], -a [F.]) or which differ by the presence or absence of a gender morpheme (-ø [M.], -a [F.]) In the latter case, inclusive forms will feature a morpheme so that the inclusive form is not the same as the masculine.

jefe

'boss'

presidente

'president'

profesor

'professor/teacher'

campeón

'champion'

bailarín

'dancer'

juez

'judge'

jefa

'boss'

presidenta

'president'

profesora

'professor/teacher'

campeona

'champion'

bailarina

'dancer'

jueza

'judge'

jefx

'boss'

presidentx

'president'

profesorx

'professor/teacher'

campeonx

'champion'

bailarinx

'dancer'

juezx

'judge'




INVARIANT NOUNS WHICH REFER TO PEOPLE AND CAN BE MASCULINE OR FEMININE GRAMMATICALLY




MASCULINE




FEMININE




INCLUSIVE—X

These nouns have only one common form which may be any gender grammatically, usually revealed by the noun's dependent elements (e.g. [la] modelo). There is still not yet a consensus on whether or not to transform these nouns. Some speakers do transform them while others change only the words that must agree with the noun (especially if the noun already features the -e morpheme). If the invariant noun ends in a consonant, it is less likely to be transformed.

modelo

'model'

artista

'artist'

astronauta

'astronaut'

estudiante

'student'

general

'general'

joven

'young person'

modelo

'model'

artista

'artist'

astronauta

'astronaut'

estudiante

'student'

general

'general'

joven

'young person'

modelx

'model'

artistx

'artist'

astronautx

'astronaut'

estudiantx

'student'

general

'general'

joven

'young person'



INVARIANT NOUNS WHICH REFER TO PEOPLE BUT ARE ONLY ONE GENDER PRESCRIPTIVELY




MASCULINE




FEMININE




INCLUSIVE—X

These nouns have only one form which is only ever one gender grammatically. Because semantically they refer to people, some speakers transform these nouns, though there is still not yet a consensus on whether or not to do so.

-


grupo

'group'

-


miembro

'member'

-


persona

'person'

-


gente

'people'

-


familia

'family'

personx

'person'

grupx

'group'

gentx

'people'

miembrx

'member'

familix

'family'



LEXICAL GENDER NOUNS


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

These nouns do not differ minimally by gender morpheme, but by some other feature(s). Items with attested innovations or semantically appropriate alternatives are listed in the Inclusive column.

padre

'father'

varón

'male'

actor

'actor'

emperador

'emperor'

héroe

'hero'

marido

'husband'

conde

'count'

hombre

'man'

yerno

'son-in-law'

rey

'king'

príncipe

'prince'

madre

'mother'

hembra

'female'

actriz

'actress'

emperatriz

'empress'

heroína

'heroine'

esposa

'wife'

condesa

'countess'

mujer

'woman'

nuera

'daughter-in-law'

reina

'queen'

princesa

'princess'

xadre, dadre

'parent'




cónyuge

'spouse'









CANONICAL -O / -A ADJECTIVES


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

These paired adjectives have different 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 may be necessary with certain vocalic morphemes (e.g. simpático simpátique).

latino

'Latin'

bueno

'good'

guapo

'handsome'

simpático

'kind'

divertido

'fun'

precioso

'precious'

latina

'Latin'

buena

'good'

guapa

'beautiful'

simpática

'kind'

divertida

'fun'

preciosa

'precious'

latinx

'Latin'

buenx

'good'

guapx

'good-looking'

simpáticx

'kind'

divertidx

'fun'

preciosx

'precious'



NONCANONICAL ADJECTIVES WITH DIFFERENT MASCULINE AND FEMININE FORMS




MASCULINE




FEMININE




INCLUSIVE—X

These paired adjectives have different masculine and feminine forms which have noncanonical morphology (e.g. -ón, -án, -or [M.], -ona, -ana, -ora [F.]). Where forms differ by the presence or absence of a gender morpheme, inclusive forms will feature a morpheme so that the inclusive form is not the same as the masculine.

holgazán

'lazy'

hablador

'talkative'

preguntón

'inquisitive'

holgazana

'lazy'

habladora

'talkative'

preguntona

'inquisitive'

holgazanx

'lazy'

habladorx

'talkative'

preguntonx

'inquisitive'




INVARIANT ADJECTIVES


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

These adjectives have only one form which is may be assigned multiple genders prescriptively (e.g. Él/Ella es optimista. 'He/She is optimistic.'). These may end in a vowel or a consonant, but as they are invariant forms, it is unclear whether or not speakers believe they should be transformed. Speakers may be more likely to transform those ending in a vowel (e.g. optimista → optimistx).

optimista

'optimistic'

inteligente

'intelligent'

útil

'useful'

genial

'great'

feliz

'happy'

optimista

'optimistic'

inteligente

'intelligent'

útil

'useful'

genial

'great'

feliz

'happy'

optimistx

'optimistic'

inteligentx

'intelligent'

útil

'useful'

genial

'great'

feliz

'happy'




DEFINITE ARTICLES


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

el

los

la

las

el

los

la

las

lx

lxs

Another definite article survives from the Latin neuter gender: lo (e.g. No sé lo que estás haciendo. 'I don't know what you're doing.') While this article is considered grammatically neuter in Spanish, it retains canonically masculine morphology, as do other elements that survive from the Latin neuter. It is used in cases where the antecedent has not been introduced, and in other special cases.



INDEFINITE ARTICLES


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

un

unos

una

unas

un

unos

una

unas

unx

unxs



DEMONSTRATIVES


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

este

ese

aquel

esta

esa

aquella

este

estos

ese

esos

aquel

aquellos

esta

estas

esa

esas

aquella

aquellas

estx

estxs

esx

esxs

aquellx

aquellxs

Another set of demonstratives survive from the Latin neuter gender: esto, eso, and aquello. While they are considered grammatically neuter in Spanish, they retain canonically masculine morphology.



DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

éste

ése

aquél

ésta

ésa

aquélla

éste

éstos

ése

ésos

aquél

aquéllos

ésta

éstas

ésa

ésas

aquélla

aquéllas

éstx

éstxs

ésx

ésxs

aquéllx

aquéllxs

Another set of demonstrative pronouns survive from the Latin neuter gender: ésto, éso, and aquéllo. While they are considered grammatically neuter in Spanish, they retain canonically masculine morphology.



DIRECT OBJECT PRONOUNS


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

me

te

lo, la

nos

os

los, las

lo

los

la

las

lx

lxs




INDIRECT OBJECT PRONOUNS


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

me

te

le (se)*

nos

os

les (se)*

le

les

le

les

lx

lxs

*le and les become se when followed by a direct object pronoun:

e.g. Le dije el cuento. → Se lo dije.

Because indirect object pronouns do not change based on the social gender of the referent, and because they already end in -e, they are not expected to be targets of transformation. However, some speakers do transform them, especially to agree with other inclusive genders.




POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

el mío

el tuyo

el suyo

el nuestro

el vuestro

el suyo

el mío

los míos

el tuyo

los tuyos

el suyo

los suyos

el nuestro

los nuestros

el vuestro

los vuestros

el suyo

los suyos

la mía

las mías

la tuya

las tuyas

la suya

las suyas

la nuestra

las nuestras

la vuestra

las vuestras

la suya

las suyas

lx míx

lxs míxs

lx tuyx

lxs tuyxs

lx suyx

lxs suyxs

lx nuestrx

lxs nuestrxs

lx vuestrx

lxs vuestrxs

lx suyx

lxs suyxs



POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

mío

tuyo

suyo

nuestro

vuestro

suyo

mío(s)

tuyo(s)

suyo(s)

nuestro(s)

vuestro(s)

suyo(s)

mía(s)

tuya(s)

suya(s)

nuestra(s)

vuestra(s)

suya(s)

míx(s)

tuyx(s)

suyx(s)

nuestrx(s)

vuestrx(s)

suyx(s)



QUANTIFIERS


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

These items share the same function as other determiners and must agree in gender with the noun they describe. (e.g. No tenemos ningunes médiques en la familia. 'We don't have any doctors in the family.')


algún

algunos

ningún

ningunos

mucho

muchos

poco

pocos

varios

alguna

algunas

ninguna

ningunas

mucha

muchas

poca

pocas

varias

algunx

algunxs

ningunx

ningunxs

muchx

muchxs

pocx

pocxs

varixs

The quantifiers algún and ningún have forms that survive from the Latin neuter gender: alguno and ninguno. While they are considered grammatically neuter in Spanish, they retain canonically masculine morphology.



INTERROGATIVES


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

The interrogative cuánto must agree in gender and number with the noun to which it refers. It is normally found in question form: ¿Cuántes amigues tienes? 'How many friends do you have?'.

cuánto

cuántos

cuánta

cuántas

cuántx

cuántxs



HONORIFICS


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

Inclusive honorific forms have been minimally attested. As señorita has no grammatically masculine counterpart, it is unknown if queer speakers will be motivated to create an inclusive form.

Sr.

señor

'mister (Mr.)'

señorita

'miss'

D.

don

'mister (Mr.)'

Dr.

doctor

'doctor'

Sra.

señora

'missus (Mrs.)'

Srta.

señorita

'miss'

D.a

doña

'Mrs./Miss'

Dra.

doctora

'doctor'

Srx.

señorx

'Mx.'

señorita

'miss'

D.x

doñx

'Mx.'

Drx.

doctorx

'doctor'



CARDINAL NUMBERS


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

When certain numbers are followed by a noun (e.g. setecientos enfermeros '700 nurses [M.]'), they must agree with the noun's gender (e.g. setecientas enfermeras '700 nurses [F.]'). This applies to the number 1, numbers ending in 1, the number 200, and every factor of 100 thereafter, but not to numbers 2-199, numbers ending in 2-9, or factors of 10 or 1,000 (minus the factor of 100 exception). For example, numbers like 10, 73, 1,000, and 1,100 do not apply, while numbers like 300 and 1,300 do.

1

un(o)*

200

doscientos

900

novecientos

1.300

mil trescientos

1

una

200

doscientas

900

novecientas

1.300

mil trescientas

1

unx

200

doscientxs

900

novecientxs

1.300

mil trescientxs

*The number 1 is expressed as uno when not before a noun. If before a noun, it functions as an article and must agree in gender and number with the noun it describes (e.g. una persona 'a person'). In the case of masculine singular nouns, uno is shortened to un (e.g. un hombre 'one man').



ORDINAL NUMBERS


MASCULINE


FEMININE


INCLUSIVE—X

All ordinal numbers with (e.g. el segundo abogado 'the second lawyer') or without (e.g. el segundo 'the second') a following noun are inflected for gender. In compound forms (e.g. ducentésimo tercero 'two-hundred third'), all components are transformed (e.g. le duecentésime tercere alcalde 'the two-hundred third mayor [I.]').

1.er/1.o

primer(o)*

2.o

segundo

60.o

sexagésimo

102.o

centésimo segundo

1.a

primera

2.a

segunda

60.a

sexagésimo

102.a

centésima segunda

1.x

primerx

2.x

segundx

60.x

sexagésimx

102.x

centésimx segundx

*The ordinal number primero is expressed as primer before a masculine singular noun (e.g. Él es el primer presidente indígena. 'He is the first Indigenous president.')



CITE THIS GRAMMAR

APA 7

Duarte, J., Duran, J., Fliege, C., & Papadopoulos, B. (2021). Inclusive partial grammar of Spanish. Gender in Language Project. www.genderinlanguage.com/spanish/grammar



REFERENCES

Our grammar is based on the following sources:


Batchelor, R. E. & San José, M. Á. (2010). A reference grammar of Spanish. Cambridge University Press.

Real Academia Española [RAE] & Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española [ASALE]. (2005). Nueva gramática de la lengua española (23rd ed.). Espasa.


With supplemental information and attestations of inclusive forms from the following sources:


Acosta Matos, M. M. (2016). Subversiones lingüísticas del español: @, x, e como morfemas de género inclusivo y otros recursos estilísticos en publicaciones anarquistas contemporáneas. [Master's thesis, City University of New York]. CUNY Academic Works.

Barrera Linares, L. (2019). Relación género/sexo y masculino inclusivo plural en español. Literatura y lingüística, 40, 327-354.

Bengoechea, M. (2008). Lo femenino en la lengua: Sociedad, cambio y resistencia normativa. Lenguaje y Textos, 27, 37-68.

Bengoechea, M. (2015). Cuerpos hablados, cuerpos negados y el fascinante devenir del género gramatical. Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 92(1), 1-24.

García Meseguer, Á. (1976). Sexismo y lenguaje. Cambio, 16(260).

Gómez, R. (2016). Pequeño manifiesto sobre el género neutro en castellano. https:// docs.google.com/document/d/ 1cCrvqLr1IRF7N0bEg9hPDd2eIrLJPnvUYGUUWz5RNig/edit?usp=sharing

Harris, J. W. (1991). The exponence of gender in Spanish. Linguistic Inquiry 22(1), 27-62.

Lara Icaza, G. (2014). Proposición X. Género y sexo en el lenguaje escrito [Master’s thesis, Universidad Complutense de Madrid].

López, Á. (2019). Tú, yo, elle y el lenguaje no binario. La Linterna del Traductor, 19, 142-150.

Merodeadora, A. (2017). Latino, latinx, latine. Medium.

Papadopoulos, B. (2019). Morphological gender innovations in Spanish of genderqueer speakers/Innovaciones al género morfológico en el español de hablantes genderqueer. [Bachelor's thesis, University of California, Berkeley]. University of California eScholarship.

Papadopoulos, B. (2021). How to make a gendered language inclusive: Sensitivity to gendered personal references in Global Spanish. [Unpublished Master's thesis, University of California, Berkeley].

Scharrón-del Río, M. R. & Aja, A. (2020). Latinx: Inclusive language as liberation praxis. Journal of Latinx Psychology, 8(1), 7-20.

Slemp, K. (2020). Latino, latina, latin@, latine, and latinx: Gender inclusive oral expression in Spanish. [Master's thesis, Western University]. Western University Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository.

Stallman, R. (2011). Un nuevo sistema fácil para conseguir neutralidad de género en la lengua castellana. Richard Stallman's Personal Site. https://stallman.org/articles/castellano-sin-genero.html.