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The Association of Teachers of the University of the Republic (ADUR) expressed its “concern” about the progress of a bill that attempts to prohibit the “use of grammatical and phonetic alterations that distort the Spanish language, better known as ‘inclusive language’”, in educational institutions.
With this normative project “the freedom of the academic world is being attacked”, explains Mariana Achugar, member of the Executive Committee of ADUR and PhD in Hispanic Linguistics. Because “the foundation of academic freedom is to be able to critically see the different positions of a society without being conditioned by outside powers (…), it is not only teaching what seems nice and we agree, but also dissent ”.
The bill in question is promoted by the deputy Inés Monzillo (Town meeting). He joined the Committee on Education and Culture of the House of Representatives at the beginning of April, and in the third of its only three articles it reads: “Chair freedom cannot be invoked as an excuse for non-compliance with the provisions of this law ”.
In his statement of reasons, Monzillo it argues that “the aim is to regularize the right to academic freedom, in order to establish this prohibition, in the same way that our Constitution currently prohibits partisan political proselytism in education (what is) officially recognized by the State.” But from ADUR they argue that “proselytism is saying what to vote for, while academic freedom is precisely the opposite: showing the different options.” Achugar explains it with an example: “In a classroom you can talk about euthanasia and it is not that it is prohibited because a project will be voted on in the Senate, in any case academic freedom consists of showing the arguments and evidence of who are for and who are against in that debate.”
The project of the lobbying legislator includes all education, public and privateand in all levels (including college education). But, why does a representative of the people present a bill that seeks to ban certain uses of language? Monzillo justifies that speaking of “everyone” or “[email protected]” is a question “of a fashion” and that it is the “reflection of an ideology”.
In ADUR they agree, but to criticize the legislator. “The representative chooses to focus on a way of using language by associating it with certain social movements, including feminists, and for this she is based on a political motivation: pretending that we all speak the same is a linguistic ideology,” says Achugar, who clarifies that “for a long time, and not only in Uruguay, we have been witnessing a campaign to attack freedom of expression and academic freedom.”
France opted for linguistic prohibitionism, Peru is studying a bill along the same lines and in some areas of the United States there is discussion (it is part of what was debated in Florida after the approval of the so-called Don’t Say Gay law).
“Linguists are not language policemen, for the simple reason that change in a language is neither imposed nor avoided.
You cannot impose by law, by decree or by express prohibition certain rules of use, whether transitory or not, because it is a cultural phenomenon that is resolved by the people in its use”, explains Ricardo Pallares, member of the National Academy of Letters.
This Academy is another of those mentioned in the third article of the law. Because the text, as it is written, says that, when it is verified that the prohibition provided in the regulations was violated, “prior opinion of the National Academy of Letters”, the Ministry of Education and Culture will notify the educational institution to the initiation of the disciplinary procedure.
Pallares, who speaks in a personal capacity, says that “the previous opinion of the Academy will be difficult to implement.” And part of his explanation is that “beyond the regulations of dictionaries, language cannot be legislated. The linguistic authority only recommends from a technical and theoretical point of view. But the use is free. The usurers remain on the sidelines of the debate, they use the language and period”.
Deputy Monzillo explained that Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize for Literature, said that inclusive language is “aberrant” and that language has rules that cannot be broken.
But another Nobel Prize winner for Literature, Gabriel García Márquez, had argued at the first International Congress of the Spanish Language that it is necessary to “retire spelling” because the fundamental thing about language is to communicate and understand each other.
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University professors are “concerned” about attempt to ban inclusive language