Einheit 2.14 (online)
Gender-inclusive and gender-neutral language in German
In the past chapters, you have encountered a number of nouns that showed –in at the end. Many German nouns that refer to professions have a masculine form (referring to male people practicing that profession) and create the feminine form by adding –in (referring to female people practicing that profession). This also works for some nationalities. Here are some examples:
der Architekt – die Architektin
der Pilot – die Pilotin
der Arzt – die Ärztin
der Erzieher – die Erzieherin
der Manager – die Managerin
der Krankenpfleger – die Krankenpflegerin
der Politiker – die Politikerin
der Professor – die Professorin
der Student – die Studentin
der Lehrer – die Lehrerin
der Schüler – die Schülerin
der Partner – die Partnerin
der Kanadier – die Kanadierin
der Italiener – die Italienerin
In the past, the generic masculine form has often been used to not only indicate a male person practicing a specific profession but also for situations where the gender of the person was unknown or when talking in the plural about a group of people that also included women.
In order to achieve more gender equality in the language, various alternative forms of spelling were created, such as the internal capitalized i (StudentIn, einE StudentIn) or using both forms (Student und Studentin).
While these forms emphasize both feminine and masculine forms, they leave out diverse and nonbinary gender identities. Just like in the English language, several gender-inclusive forms were created for German, such as the gender-gap (Student_in, ein_e Student_in) or the gender-star (Student*in, ein*e Student*in).
With some words, a gender-neutral form is possible that derives from a verb participle or adjective, or is a synonym or an abstraction, for example: der/die Studierende.
In this beginning German textbook, we have opted to write out both feminine and masculine forms of nouns at first, because they are still the commonly used forms in the German-speaking countries. As we further progress through the book, we will start using gender-neutral forms like “Studierende” whenever possible.
Task 2: Beschreibung einer Mitstudentin/eines Mitstudenten
Write a text (at least 120 words) based on the information you obtained to describe the person you interviewed in the last class. Please submit this task on eClass.
This task will be assessed according to the following Rubric for Task 2.
Please note: since you will be describing a classmate it might be useful to use “his/her”. Just like we have been using “mein(e) / dein(e)” we use “ihr(e)” for her and “sein(e)” for his. If you don’t want to use these, but want to write about their phone number, major/minor, favourite colour, favourite class, etc., you could also use their name + s (no apostrophe in German).
- Silvia ist meine Freundin und ihre Telefonnummer ist 0761 494200.
- Mario fotografiert gern. Seine Lieblingsfarbe ist Grün.
- Paulas Lieblingskurs ist Wirtschaftspsychologie.
- Svens Hauptfach ist Politikwissenschaft und sein Nebenfach ist Germanistik.
Extra Practice (optional):
Video Serie – Nicos Weg
Click on the link and watch the video. Then click on “start” under the video and do the exercises. There are two good options today.