The director of the RAE, on inclusive language: “Society decides"

For a few days, the use of inclusive language has been at the center of the political scene when Horacio Rodríguez Larreta made the decision to prevent teachers from using it. But now, the director of the RAE explained what his position is regarding the use of the “e”.

President Alberto Fernández also got into the controversy when he used inclusive language in an act at the Casa Rosada: “It is not a language problem, it is so that everyone feels challenged. Everyone feels challenged.”

Nothing more timely in this context than listening to the words of the director of the Royal Spanish Academy. Santiago Muñoz Machado took advantage of his visit to the Language Academies of Uruguay and Chile to refer to this topic on which the institution speaks quite often in its virtual query box.

During this time, the RAE maintained a fairly hermetic position. They explain that the “e” is not part of the Spanish morphology, and that the grammatical masculine already fulfills the function of being a generic. They also understand that a grammatical change it is never produced by the imposition of any group of speakers.

However, this opinion, which seems so firm, was not exactly expressed in this way by the director of the institution these days. In a report with the Chilean newspaper Time, when asked about the inclusive language, said: “The RAE is not the only one that can regulate this, of course. It is the citizens, by using the language, who establish the rules.”

“The RAE is always a little behind the citizens. What the RAE can say is that a formula like ‘les niñes’ is not in general usage, it is not part of the grammar nor is that way of speaking orthodox and probably in many places they will not understand it. It is rather a political manifestation, an expression that has no practical reality, “Muñoz Machado continued with the explanation.

On the future of the “e” he added: “It is society, it is the speakers who decide how their language evolves. They will also decide with inclusive language. The language always changes very slowly”.

The term “society” is repeated in Muñoz’s statements and perhaps that is where the most important thing resides. Before a set of rules, language is a social science, therefore it replicates the changes that are taking place in society. The rules or norms established by the RAE arise from the observation of the phenomena produced by the speakers. It is not an aseptic discipline, language is a sounding board for what happens outside of it.

Leave a Comment