The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has just included the word Latinx after noticing it was embraced by LGBT communities. Is it one step closer toward recognition of this population?
One way to confirm that language is constantly evolving is the addition of new words to the dictionary. The Merriam-Webster dictionary just added 840 new words, including “Latinx,” a gender-neutral noun form to refer to all everyone “marked by Latin American heritage.”
The language institution said on a blog post that they decided to include this term because it is frequently used by the general public, particularly by members of Latino LGBTQ communities to describe themselves, since this term is more gender inclusive than "Latino" or "Latina."
The point here is that Latinxs aren't all the same. Even though we might have the Spanish language in common, and share some traditions or ideas, every Latinx community has its own way to express and describe themselves. There's Chicanos, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Colombians, Peruvians, among many other groups that still keep their roots as the largest minority in the United States with more than 55 million people.
Photo: Omar López
If language is constantly evolving, then why does it seem sometimes as if society weren't? Just as the one of the oldest institutions in charge of revising how language transforms has accepted a way to address people of Latinx origin regardless of gender, society would need to understand that speaking Spanish doesn’t make us all the same and put us in the same basket, and anyway, gender is more than just male and female. However, it is very interesting how Latinx presence in the United States is constantly growing and gaining recognition, and this is a sign of the power they represent.
So, how do you pronounce “Latinx”? “The most common way to pronounce Latinx is the same way you would Spanish-derived Latina or Latino but pronouncing the "x" as the name of the English letter X. So you get something like \luh-TEE- neks\”, the Merriam-Webster website explains.
So, should we grab a marg (as in margarita, another word just added to the dictionary) and celebrate?
Cover photo: Ana Paula Lima
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