When is a Miss actually a Mrs?

SPANISH airports will soon change the way the public is addressed over their tannoy systems, in line with a new “anti-sexist language” policy, by dropping their famous “Señores Pasajeros” opening.

The Spanish language defaults to the masculine when referring to people, or objects, collectively, and, unless they are all female, the English “ladies and gentlemen” address is directed at males only.

The literal translation for Señores is “Misters”, meaning the usual announcement refers to “Mr Passengers”, although is understood to include Señoras, or “Mrs”, in plural.

Spanish women do not change their title of address from “Miss” to “Mrs”, or Señorita to Señora, upon marriage. This is dictated more by age, although Señorita is thought to be a diminutive, and considered rather patronising, and is seldom used.

And, given that Spanish women do not change their surnames when they marry, it is impossible to ascertain from their full name, including title, whether or not they are a Mrs.

Some public services, when addressing people collectively, have begun to open with “Señores y Señoras”, to neutralise the language in sex terms, even though the former, “Señores”, on its own, works for both genders, in order.

Airports across Spain are likely to address passengers over the loudspeaker with, simply, Atención, rather than using any terms that may refer to gender.

Gender-free language has been proposed at Government level, with debates on introducing a third, neutral term altogether.

While “son” is hijo and “daughter” is hija, a person’s children are known as their “hijos” unless they are all female.

It has been suggested that the term “hijes” be introduced to avoid discrimination in favour of males.

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Posted by on Mar 8 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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