SubMor wrote:I'm a giant fan of linguistics and overcoming monolingualism, so I can totally get behind talking about other languages. The obvious problem there would be if someone wants to talk about a language no one else speaks.
But we have to be realistic: English is not "the norm" when it comes to gender and grammar. It'd be significantly harder (though not impossible) to implement gender-neutral language in languages with grammatical gender, but this whole issue is completely irrelevant in terms of Chinese, Japanese, and the like. Those that don't speak the language being discussed will have very little to add to those discussions (without Englishsplaining all over everything, that is).
So ultimately, it's certainly not the case that these forums are restricted to English only. We do have a shared language, though, and that colors the discussions we have. While I'm quite sure an interesting conversation could come of the de-genderification of Spanish, for example, those of us who don't speak Spanish probably have nothing to add to that conversation (barring other relevant qualifications).
Certainly, Finnish is a very unpopular language, I'm holding it up as one example of a language that is very weakly gendered. It does not go much beyond having different words for "man" or "woman", or a few male/female forms for a few words, most of which have gone in disuse.
Now, I tried my best to convey how adding genders to Portuguese and Russian is a harder task than doing so in English, and I'm trying to push the idea of stripping genders from languages on the basis of it being a more universal solution. While I get it that most people in the forum have no clue about these languages (hell, I can't even have a real conversation in Russian myself), there's a difference between speaking a language
and talking about a language
. Linguists do it all the time. And, although most people are not linguists either, it's not necessary to have a formal linguist's background to discuss the topic on the surface.
Outside this forum, there's around a quarter of a billion of people who speak Portuguese natively
, and (if I understand correctly) a quarter of a billion of people who speak Russian as a first or second language
. And these are only two (very big, I'll grant) gendered languages. There's a bunch of other gendered languages around. The numbers of Spanish language
speakers, for example, is even higher, and they are going to have the same kinds of problems.