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AniGirl425

LGBTQ+ Vocabulary in Different Languages

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AniGirl425

I'm curious as to how one would translate the different identities (sexual/romantic orientation and gender) into languages other than English.  Asking mostly because I was wondering how to translate 'genderfluid' into Spanish, but also because this is is something I'm really interested in in general.

 

I'd love to know how the vocabulary translates across different languages.

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Nowhere Girl

My native language is Polish and I have a tendency to linguistic purism. I reject the idea that English is a Better Language, for me all languages are beautiful and Needed, littering of Polish or extinction of endagered languages such as Belarusian or Wymysorys will be 0 benefit and all Loss. Unfortunately - and not just in Poland, it's rather an online phenomenon worldwide - people tend to be linguistically lazy, not to care about linguistic correctness, a lot of people believe that reflection on language is something only for professional linguists... I try to use good quality language when writing on the web, because why not???!! Why??!!! should I use shitty language if it offends my love for the word? (And some people do act as if using proper language on the web was a ridiculous waste of time...) So a lot of people also borrow words from English without "wasting" even 1 second on thinking how they would translate, while I dislike such practices and will always try to come up with a Polish equivalent.

At the beginning of 20th century there was a doctor in Cracow named Stanisław Kurkiewicz - a Polish precursor of sexology and also quite a radical lingustic purist. He would try translating all foreign words to Polish (for example, the international word patient is just spelled differently in Polish, pacjent. Kurkiewicz instead used the word cierpik - from cierpieć, suffer) and also - researching areas which were mostly unstudied at his time - had to create entirely new terms. (He also displayed some megalomania - would call sexual acts in general kurkiewy, from his own name. ;)) One of his neologisms has entered general Polish language: szczytować (have an orgasm) - from szczyt - summit, apex, top. I'm not as radical as Kurkiewicz, but I believe that borrowing words just because one is too lazy to think of an equivalent harms any language. So I have a preference for:

a) native words, and

b) older, well-integrated loanwords.

An important word in possible Polish neologisms on sex and gender issues will be płeć. It means gender or sex (but not as sex act). Polish doesn't distinguish between "sex" and "gender", this has to be specified by adjectives such as "biological" (for "sex") and "sociocultural" (for "gender"). However, the word płeć by itself is "more sociocultural" than English "sex" - originally it meant "skin, complexion", mostly used in relation to fair ladies, and that's how it began referring to "gender" instead.

So I would translate "gendefluid" to Polish as płynnopłciowy. Płynny (or maybe rather płynn*, because the ending -y is just singular masculine nominative) means "fluid, liquid".

I have seen a discussion on a Polish trans forum about how to translate some terms. Unfortunately, it mostly had a humoristic bent - people would mostly make fun by slipping into radical lingustic purism a la Kurkiewicz. For example there is the English (or rather Latin-English) term transition. The most common translation is zmiana płci ("sex change") or korekta płci ("sex correction") among more sensitive people. The trans community tends to just adapt it as tranzycja. So that discussion I just mentioned would playfully translate it as przepłcenie - from the same word płeć (and don't ask me about the history of the phonetic phenomenon of "moving e", because it could start another essay ;)), and encased in prefixes and suffixes which altogether give a meaning similar to "turning inside out". As I said: all langauges are beautiful and Needed. The downside of Polish is that it's rather verbose and often inflexible in comparison to English, however it has amazing possibilities in building new words. The Polish poet Bolesław Leśmian (1877-1937) made extensive use of this characteristic of Polish, which makes him one of the most untranslatable poets. Anyway, back to the problem of transition. The word przepłcenie woudln't work - it sounds strange, artificial, unserious. My own preferred term is simply przemiana - transformation.

Since I write most about asexuality here, I typically naturally switch to thinking in English for the time (and I'm an extreme verbal thinker - maybe this is what makes it natural for me to use full, correct language on the web as well: this is also how I think, in words and even full sentences) and have to think a bit on how to translate it when writing in my diary or the Polish asexuality forum, for example. But for me it's a must, I will never settle for some ungrammatical Ponglish.

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kiaroskuro
20 hours ago, AniGirl425 said:

Asking mostly because I was wondering how to translate 'genderfluid' into Spanish, but also because this is is something I'm really interested in in general.

That's interesting. I just assumed that it would translate as 'género fluido' and a quick Google research confirmed that I was right. But I wonder if this word is actually used in Spanish-speaking countries?

There's no German equivalent, to my knowledge.

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Bloc
3 hours ago, kiaroskuro said:

That's interesting. I just assumed that it would translate as 'género fluido' and a quick Google research confirmed that I was right. But I wonder if this word is actually used in Spanish-speaking countries?

There's no German equivalent, to my knowledge.

I don't know of any. Also in German there is only one word "Geschlecht" for both sex and gender. I don't if you could say you have a "fluides Geschlecht" or "wechselndes Geschlecht".

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Iam9man
On 4/13/2019 at 6:25 PM, kiaroskuro said:

That's interesting. I just assumed that it would translate as 'género fluido' and a quick Google research confirmed that I was right. But I wonder if this word is actually used in Spanish-speaking countries?

There's no German equivalent, to my knowledge.

I guess you’d have to “be of” for that to make sense in Spanish (“ser/soy de género fluido”). I have never heard anyone use this term so I don’t know if it’s actually used. I’m not good on LGBTQ+ words in Spanish, sorry (¡pero sé que soy asexual!).

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Iam9man

PS Not much good in my native language of Norwegian either, but again I know “aseksuell”.

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kiaroskuro
1 hour ago, Iam9man said:

I guess you’d have to “be of” for that to make sense in Spanish (“ser/soy de género fluido”). I have never heard anyone use this term so I don’t know if it’s actually used. I’m not good on LGBTQ+ words in Spanish, sorry (¡pero sé que soy asexual!).

Well, that makes sense. Apparently you can also say 'soy de género no binario', which would correspond to being 'nicht-binär' (I've also seen it written as nichtbinär, or translated as nonbinär) in German.

While I often find it annoying that we have to resort to English terminology most of the time - as far as gender and sexual orientations are concerned -, I like the fact that queer is one of those terms that just can't be translated into any language. At least as far as I know.

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