May 5, 2020

Ivana Đurović Language Gender Trouble

In this talk, the author examines the the relationship between sex as a biological category on the one hand, and gender, as a social and grammatical category on the other. A number of widespread languages of the world are undergoing more or less intentional changes in grammar, specifically in the category of gender: singular they in English, gender neutral latinx is poised to replace its specific counterparts latina/o in Spanish, and Serbian is the battlefield where professional titles traditionally marked for masculine, are in a struggle to acquire feminine morphology as well. The proponents of these changes claim justice and equality as lead motivations, yet they face varying degrees of resistance from institutions and speakers themselves. We cannot help but wonder – could grammar take us to justice?

Ivana Đurović is a Doctoral Candidate of linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City where she also teaches undergraduate linguistics courses. Her research interests are in formal semantics, more specifically: the composition of counterfactual conditionals, presuppositions, and attitudes of desire. In addition, she considers it her responsibility never to quit examining the ways society and language dovetail and interfere with each other, especially if it can echo outside of the academic ivory tower. She is also a union organizer.

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