Conference programme

GeS contribution will be focused on “The italian so-called inclusive Gender. A short History of a Myth” (9 May)


This short paper aims to broadly outline the history of the so-called inclusive-gender, i.e., that kind of communicative practice by which the average Italian speaker generally uses masculine gender to denote both male individuals and – more widely – groups of people, such as teachers, footballers, and so forth… This practice concernes linguistic representation and semiotic interpretation and is extremely frequent within communicative contexts characterized by the presence of both male and female individuals. Even with an almost female context.

The absence of critical reactions from contemporary Italian people to such an ancient modality of linguistic gender use and, even more important, the sense of distress instintively express by people – regardless of their gender –  often shown towards  those who try to explain the implications of an inclusive reference, represents more than a clue of the existence of something beyond language, gender and their awareness, something to dig and bring out. Something involved with the typical structure of a well-known but never explicated Myth.

For this reason, it could be useful to investigate the non-visible roots of such a category and its development along and across the linguistic history of the Latin diasystem as well as the Italian one.

More specifically, both literary and metalinguistic texts – most of all Grammars and lexicographic Compilations – will be investigated to trace back the drift by which a textual and sociolinguistic variant has become a transparent cage. Something evolved from possibility to normal and, consequently, to (linguistic) norm.