Prof. Josep Soler Carbonell: Language, Gender and Society. The Debate in Catalonia and Beyond. Seminar for graduate students, October 2 – 6, 2023.
The seminar will provide an overview of current language ideological debates centered around sociolinguistic issues on the question of gender-neutral and gender-inclusive language. The focus and starting point for the seminar is the context of Catalan in Catalonia, where language and gender ideological debates have become recent hot topics of public discussions. In addition, the seminar goes beyond the Catalan context to open up more general theoretical points of entry to the question of language and gender, touching upon the very conceptualization of gender in linguistics, to applied issues of language policy and educational linguistics. Readings are proposed to gain insights on the questions under discussion from contexts beyond Catalan and other Romance languages.
Public lecture: The gender-neutral language ideological debate in Catalonia:
Gender-neutral and gender-inclusive language proposals have flourished across a wide range of language communities around the world. Some of these proposals date back already several decades, but suggestions to alter the way we use language to avoid a masculine bias have become more frequent in recent times, particularly in Romance language areas. Almost unavoidably, such proposals have been met with heated public debates about language. In this talk, Prof. Soler sets out to do two things: first, he will provide an overview of a language ideological debate that has been unfolding in Catalonia since late July 2021 on the question of gender-neutral and gender-inclusive language. He will present the terms in which the debate is structured, and the key actors involved in it. Building on the latter, he will then examine the central role that linguists play in giving shape to the very debate and to the circulating discourses in it. This should allow for a closing discussion in which Prof. Soler will open questions such as: what role should linguists play in these language ideological debates? How can we best contribute to advancing the knowledge by the general public of complex language related questions?
The Mercè Rodoreda Chair in Catalan Studies is part of the Ph.D. Program in Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures at the Graduate Center - CUNY. Created in 2003 and funded by the Institut Ramon Llull, each semester the Mercè Rodoreda Chair offers a course in Catalan literature and culture, and a course in Catalan sociolinguistics, alternatively.