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3 Reasons Lingua Franca Nova Is The Most LGBT-Inclusive Romlang Yet

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Becci Cat

Queer, disabled, polyamorous transgender lunatic. She/her. ✨✨ Kvira, malkapabla, pluramema transgenra frenezulino. Pronomo: ŝi.

Whenever I mention my interest in Lingua Franca Nova, I am inevitably told that it sounds too similar to languages that already exist. While in some senses this is true, I still find, as a queer trans woman, that the areas where it differs from other romance-derived constructed languages (romlangs) are important enough to warrant my interest. Here are some of these differences:

1. It uses the same third-person pronoun, el, for all animate nouns.

While romlangs usually eliminate gender agreement in adjectives, they tend to leave it in place in the pronouns and use a “natural gender” system like English’s. Lingua Franca Nova partly does away with this by merging the masculine and feminine into el while leaving the inanimate pronoun separate. Apart from being LGBT-inclusive, el is also very naturalistic; it is pronounced similarly to French elle as well as Spanish él. There is also a strong rationale for this cross-linguistically, since the majority of languages have no gender distinction in pronouns. For inanimate objects, the pronoun is lo, which forms the basis of the third-person plural pronoun, los.

2. Nouns do not change form for gender.

In Interlingua there is a bit of gender asymmetry in that many nouns end in -o by default, and can mean either “male” or be gender-non-specific, but to make them specifically female you change the -o to -a. Not only that, but there is no way of changing a noun’s form to make it non-binary. In Lingua Franca Nova there are relatively few nouns with inherent gender, and specifying the gender of a noun is analytic like most aspects of the language; you simply add an adjective like fema (female), mas (male), or nonbinaria (non-binary). And on that note…

3. The language is full of official words for LGBT-related concepts.

In addition to nonbinaria there is also ge, lesbian, bisesal, transjenero, asesal, nonsesal, ajenero, and so on. It is, unfortunately, still missing precise official words for certain concepts, notably “pansexual,” “queer,” “polyamorous,” and “aromantic,” but new words are frequently added to the official dictionary, and in the meantime it’s easy enough to derive an LFN word from an international one.

Summary

While LFN could use more words for queer concepts, it is making more official effort in this direction than any other auxiliary language (auxlang) at all, let alone any other romlang. This sets it apart from similar languages, whose governing bodies tend to stop short of active efforts at inclusivity.

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