No sexist language please!

Esperanto will cure Discrimination!

It was amusing to read that the NGOs in Malaysia were having an award ceremony for the most outrageous sexist statements.

Certainly, it’s not surprising for me, but after the good laugh, it was painful for me in searching for answers.

How can we prevent this from continuing to happen?

Languages which was formed millions of years ago, and therefore its not possible to trace its’ exact origins, save for some evidences of it. Humans talk. Animals communicate. Birds’ chatter, and even the cells and viruses in the body communicate with one another as well. Whether the word “talk” or “communicate”, both effectively means the same thing, it’s function is to send a message across to another.

Languages are ingrained with words in all of our lives. We know that the adjectives of most languages were not that many in the past compared to this present day. It is a process of change as we evolve.

Can we prevent the children of the future to at least try not to use expressions which are discriminatory?

There has to be a way. I am certain that there are many language experts who are reading this loyarburok.com site. I am just here to share my limited knowledge of Esperanto and as to how Esperanto can help to diffuse the discrimination. Mi estas komencanto en Esperanto, which means ”I am a beginner in Esperanto”.

Research shows that Esperanto is a neutral language, which has less discriminatory vocabulary because Esperanto has less synonyms and antonyms. If you know 1,500 words, you can form more than 10,000 words of Esperanto.

Let’s take a look of a simple example:

bela=handsome, beautiful, nice looking, good looking etc

La bela knabo (The handsome boy)

La bela knabino ( The beautiful girl)

La bela floro ( The beautiful flower)

La bela tago ( The beautiful day)

Now, can you see how the word of bela is being used for all genders and things as well? It is unlike English, where “handsome” is meant particularly for the male gender and “beautiful” is usually meant to describe the female gender. The adjective, beautiful, is also being used to describe non living things. Why can’t the adjective “handsome” be used to describe a flower, a particular day or even a beast? For example, handsome dog, handsome bag, handsome car? Or maybe “Beautiful dogs and beautiful cats are flying around us everyday”. Male gender seem to enjoy a different word to show the superiority in the society.

ge=both sexes, the suffix of the word

sinjoro=mister,sir

sinjorino=madam, Ms

gesinjoroj =ladies and gentlemen.

Now, let us take a closer look of it. In the formation of the word, the user of the language does not have to think of the genders, whether the word describing the female gender be placed in front or the male gender put in front.

Different cultures have it’s own unique way when it comes to the use of languages, just as taking the picture of a couple, it should be the male at the right side or left side for the female. The discrimination which we are taught in the younger days or even during when we were toddlers has slowly crept into the mind and when the time comes, the ugly side of discrimination would surface. Now, if we use the non-sexist language, like Esperanto, it would cause lesser harm and pressure.

Time and money can be saved for better use like education and healthcare of the poor and old age group instead of fighting in courts for discrimination and on the campaign against the use of discriminatory word or phrases.

It is when you start to learn Esperanto, you would only know how the language is not only non-sexist but also equal among the different races. If you are interested, the free learning sites are:

www.lernu.net

www.kurso.com.br

You can find many Facebook groups in Esperanto, of course, don’t forget other social media space, like Twitter and Skype.

Hopefully, the loyarburokkers do not create too many words like manning to humaning, etc. Don’t give the learners of language too many words to remember, they need time to read and reflect.

This video was said to be a sexist advertisement in USA. You be the judge of it.

 


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After watching the 8 minutes short film of the late Dr Claude Piron on the chanllenge of language, Sinjoro ENG has himself revolutionised. Watch it and see whether the short film will touch you too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHALnLV9XU

Posted on 19 July 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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4 Responses to No sexist language please!

  1. Pepper Lim

    Nice!

  2. Kedahan

    I am a gay man. In my late teen years when I came to accept my sexuality, I also started using "beautiful" on men, and insisted to other people that that is not "wrong", as of course men can be beautiful. I believe if we could be brave enough to use words and language to convey what we feel and feel with the words we're using instead of letting the words dictate how we should feel, then we can express ourselves more fully, and in doing so we live a fuller, richer life. This is why I am, in principle, opposed to putting too much emphasis on English instead of teaching children and students to express themselves better (whether in English or Bahasa or Mandarin or Tamil or whatever). For most Malaysians, their English will not be "better" than an average American, British or Australian; our English will always be "wrong", a lot of people will learn "handsome is for men, beautiful is for women" without understanding the subtlety that would occassionally allow men to be beautiful and women handsome. Make English the common language, and you will be wrong(ed) forever – allowing people in a strange land to make the rules for expressing our selves and lives. I think that would be tragic.

    On an unrelated note I think the screen name "True Malaysian" is stupid.

    • Sinjoro Eng

      Saluton Kedahan. I was trying to give you the reply when I was in Hanoi last month but the loyarburok page was not functioning well. It is neither you nor I can change the structure of language not until you can get the full consent from the particular tribe, example, if it is English, all English men and women etc should consent on the change of the language usage.

      I respect your sexual preference and of course gay and lesbian can have their own way of calling their idea idols. Well, instead of getting the whole tribe to accept and change the usage of the language, why not you learn esperanto and use it to your heart content without having to be accused of wrong grammar.

      Since you have openly professed that you are a gay, you might like to join the esperanto gay group at lsg-esperanto.org