Make your own pronoun buttons for Multilingual SFU week

February 14, 2024

Drop by the GSWS Lounge for a fun social event celebrating Multilingual SFU week

Use a button press to make your own buttons sharing your preferred pronouns in various languages. Choose from pre-printed designs or use your language skills to create your own buttons.

This is a casual drop-in event and everyone is welcome. Visit the GSWS Lounge any time between 10:30am-12:30pm to make buttons and socialize. Light refreshments will be served.

  • Multilingual Pronoun Button Making - Social
    • Tuesday, February 27 | 10:30am-12:30pm
    • In person, GSWS lounge (AQ 5101)
    • No registration; everyone invited
    • Refreshments served

Exploring Language and Gender

Fun ideas and research related to language, multilingualism, and gender identity will be shared at the event.

Did you know many world languages do not have third person, gendered pronouns?

“The issue of often comes up in Indigenous language classes,” explains Marianne Ignace, professor in the departments of Linguistics and Indigenous Studies at Simon Fraser University, and Director of SFU’s Indigenous Languages Program and First Nations Language Centre. “In northwestern North America, most Indigenous languages — such as the Interior Salish, Haida, Tlingit, Dene, and Wakashan languages — do not have gender in the third person. 'll or 'laa means he-she-it or even ‘they.’ In most languages, the gender pronouns are affixes glued to the verb, rather than independent pronouns, although the latter also exist to some degree.”

Saylesh Wesley, a former PhD student in SFU Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies, researched the impact of colonization on Coast Salish languages and cultures. Welsey’s article seeks to name transgender and two-spirit identities in the Stó:lõ language.

Does the commonly used English gender-neutral pronoun “they” translate into world languages? According to Helen Hok-Sze Leung, professor and chair in SFU Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies, there are cultural and political challenges created by this approach. In her research, Leung compares pronouns in Cantonese, English, and French to advocate for a multilingual understanding of fostering gender-inclusive environments.

We would love to hear about languages you speak. Learn more and join the conversation about language and gender by dropping by our event on February 27.