2014/07/01

Sex and the internet in Spanish

Here's a curious little corpse-worm:

Curious for me, because I thought that the arrival in Hispanidad of services provided over TCP/IP and HTTP was divisible into three sociolinguistic phases:

  1. Tech nerds tend to assign masculine gender to this weird new shit, more or less as per Regina Morin, Spanish gender assignment in computer and Internet related loanwords (via Lester Haines). So el internet should predominate.
  2. Language nerds wake up to this and point out that internetinter-net, that netred, and that red is feminine. And through the RAE and other instruments of terror they herd the public in the direction. So la internet should rapidly increase market share vis-à-vis el internet.
  3. National-catholic nerds clamour that Spanish/Catalan/Asturoleonese civilisation will die with grammatical gender, and that an Anglo-Saxon plot involving whores and wheretics is underway.

In fact the Ngram shows that 1990-2008 the ratio la internet:el internet stays roughly the same. Were the tech nerds not writing, or are they just amazingly good at everything?

[
The RAE is actually pretty moderate: the internet's gender is ambiguous, but feminine use is recommended.
]

The debate's marginal because I think most people regard the internet as a location, either not to be fucked with or whose gender is not of primary interest, and if you prefix the article then you're a peasant, like people who say la Granada or l'Hospitalet:

Could grammatical gender die or decrease dramatically in Spanish, as it has in the pathetic patois that is English? The deranged cultists who wander the land chanting each to count for one, and none for more than one, flagellating themselves and decapitating others, are obviously a threat; and one can never overestimate the duplicity of the Anglocabrones. But it's difficult to imagine in a world whose best-paid footballer is an ambulant penis extension.

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