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

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.

Nia Ido Android app

Rachel Wil Sha Singh

Hi everybody –

On a whim I decided to write an Ido reference app today, similar to my Toki Pona and Láadan apps. The app contains an offline dictionary (like the others), as well as links to other resources online. The dictionary is the same as on this website, with the same dictionaries.

I’ve also made it open source because my Ido isn’t always great, so I thought it would be necessary for others to be able to maintain and improve upon it. I also don’t know much about alternative marketplaces beyond Google Play, so if someone wants to package it up and release it on some other market, feel free to do so. (Also tell me what marketplace you use?)

Láadan Spring Break

Rachel Wil Sha Singh
An image from the Láadan First Dictionary: A woman is hammering something on an anvil.
An image from the Láadan First Dictionary: A woman is hammering something on an anvil.

After work today, I will be on spring break! (Yay, one of the few perks of teaching college is having a spring break, but I still have a lot of grading to do.)

I have such a huge amount of anxiety when it comes to break periods, being afraid that I’ll waste my precious free time on things like sleeping and relaxing, ugh. ;P It is important to me to be productive, and I don’t get to do much creatively during the semester, because there just isn’t much time for creative projects. :(

So this Spring Break, I think I’m going to work on making some Láadan content for YouTube and queuing it up for the next few weeks.

Ideas:

  • Translate quotes about women, or by women
  • Read the WisCon talk and talk about inspirations of Láadan; brief history.
  • Make a storybook video of some Aesop stories in Láadan
  • Record the tune and (try to) sing “Birthsong”. (I’m REALLY insecure about my singing voice.)
  • Talk about Suzette’s abandoned languages
  • How to… (grammar help?) videos
  • Láadan songs (I bought myself a Ukulele with the intent of learning to write songs with conlang lyrics.)

If you have any other ideas, let me know!

My Láadan videos are currently available here: