Q&A not Q&A: “All the pronouns in Italian are female and masculine, “it” in Italian doesn’t exist…”

johncatwatson said:

I have the same problem of the last ask. All the pronouns in Italian are female and masculine, “it” in Italian doesn’t exist. The only alternative I have is say words at masculine way.

(re: this post)

indeed, Italian does share linguistic problems with French when it comes to gender, although (as you’ve pointed out) unlike French, Italian doesn’t even have a commonly used pronoun for “it”, among other differences. i can only imagine how frustrating that must be. :/

i’m embarrassed to say that i studied Italian for two years in college but know / remember even less of it now than i do French…! nevertheless, i used what i remember to go digging and see what i could find about non-binary anything in Italian and was really disappointed. i don’t know if it’s just my poor language skills, but what i was able to find about non-binary people in Italian was considerably less than what i was able to find in French…

the gist of what i found was that some people alternate between using masculine and feminine grammatical gender or use the masculine as if it were neutral even though it’s technically not, which is what you were referring to, no? i also found interesting usage of asterisks (*), as in this article, for example:


Quello che posso dire alla mia amica è che sono femminista oggi come ieri, e che il mio femminismo sarà sempre dedicato alla liberazione di tutt*, anche di chi non si ritrova in “tutti” o “tutte” ma soltanto nell’asterisco.  […]

…in realtà nessuna di noi si identifica con l’essere una donna attratta dalle donne. Nella nostra intimità di coppia, su internet, con alcun* amic* siamo una persona agender e un’altra genderfluid. […] 

i also came across usage of the ‘at’ symbol (@):

Seriamente, dovremmo sempre fare attenzione e fare autocritica se il nostro scetticismo verso la verità di qualcun@ rischia di trasformarsi in una “approvazione” delle identità altrui. Negare a qualcun@ la possibilità di identificarsi come non-binari@ è semplicemente sostenere il binarismo e imporlo al prossimo.

…but i’m sure i’m probably not saying anything that you didn’t already know, anon. sorry! it’s likely that you’re also already familiar with the things that i managed to find, but i’m going to include links to it anyway. hopefully this post will be helpful for anyone who needs a starting point re: non-binary language & identity in Italian.

anyway, anon, it really does suck that on top of the gendered nature of the language, there is also a huge lack of gender neutral options in Italian… but not even just that, it seems like there’s also a huge lack of resources for non-binary people in Italian. i can only hope that that changes in the future. :/

YouTuber and Blogger, Vesper is an American expat currently living in Japan.

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