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Los, Las or L@s: Taking the Machismo Out of Spanish?

El Diario/La Prensa, Posted: Apr 07, 2010

NEW YORK -- An op-ed in El Diario/La Prensa argues that it is time to revisit an old convention in the Spanish language that reflects a "macho" outlook: The use of plural articles that ignore the feminine.

"At present, our Spanish language is stagnant in one vital aspect: gender ... that in the plural form continues to exclude about one half of humanity, specifically the feminine gender (sex)," writes Alfredo Garca. The article los and the ending os, have an undeniable masculine and macho connotation, he writes, a clear vestige of human relations in which los hombres" (men) were the only people with citizenship rights.

"I suggest we make our plurals by replacing the article los with les and the ending os with es." Example: les ciudadanes, les obreres, les latines, les riques, etc. I know in the beginning it will sound weird and ridiculous, but custom makes law; the more we practice the better it will sound to us and it will seem normal. In that way we will have ended that ignominious form of the plural that harkens back to times of sad recollection."

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