Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

Reflections on the effects of Hitan on gender

  • Why are men, in a group of friends, using Hitano among themselves, if there are other bodies and identities that are not men in that circle? What does that mean? What sensations are produced? And the solution is that women also use Hitano? How? For non-men, can it be useful to recover the noka form? A tool to have a colloquial language?
Gatx Eizagirre eta Beñat Arruti. (Argazkia: Arnaitz Rubio / ARGIA CC BY SA)
Gatx Eizagirre eta Beñat Arruti. (Argazkia: Arnaitz Rubio / ARGIA CC BY SA)

The relationship between the extremely Hitan and the masculine is close, but not for that very investigated. And on Hitman, in general, you can say the same thing. There's research, researchers and local projects. Thanks to the action of many people, many concerns are being expressed. There is no doubt that the use of Hitano is taking place mainly in the areas of the Basque Country where it is quite present. One of them is Urola Kosta (Gipuzkoa). Azpeitia, Azkoitia, Orio, Zarautz, Zumaia... They are populated villages and the Hitan has a great presence in the daily interviews. There is nothing more than putting your ear, for example, from the young boys dying, to the easy and quiet handling of Hitano.

The form among men stands out in particular: toka. Noka, for its part, has weakened considerably more in recent decades than in the Toka. This has to do directly with the space and protagonism that men have in the public square and that they have had in history. Also, of course, with the connotation of Hitano: relationship with the rural environment, contempt, dirt... But at the same time that Euskera is strengthened on the street, hegemonic masculinity has assumed Hitan. Many researches, including those we will analyze in the report, claim that it is common to ask the public, always in places where Hitan is used, to listen to men with Hitan, and that is perceived as something cool and strong. On the contrary, in the case of women who use Hitano, historically, their social position has favored more grossly adjectives: truths, marimutiles, etc.

“Is Hitan healthy in your village?” It's a common question in surveys about the use of Hitano. This causes discomfort for the Euskaltegi professor Gatx Eizagirre (Zarautz, 1990). His activism in transfeminism has led him to research on language and gender, in that he is working on feminist studies and has just taught a noka course in Astigarraga (Gipuzkoa). To that question, Eizagirre asks: “What does it mean to be healthy? Talk a lot? The Hitan, and the language itself, will be healthy if the speaker and the community are healthy.”

Eizagirre: "If interity is not questioned, it would be problematic for us all to speak in Hitano." (Photo: Arnaitz Rubio / ARGIA CC BY, S.A.)

Interlocutor Beñat Arruti (Zarautz, 1999) is also going around in the last year: “The main concern has always been the loss of Hitano, for its very low and local use. ‘We have to get the rope back,’ we say. And yes, that's right, we have to take into account the quantity, the downward trend. But also, inevitably, we have to reflect on why we have to recover the noka form.”

Arruti has completed a final master's degree work focused on Urola Kosta. He has interviewed young people between 20 and 36 years old and has managed to bring together a heterogeneous group that has thought: trans nonbinary, transvers male and female, cis men and queer, among others. Although research is very local, the impact is important: “Taking the territory in which Euskera is spoken, the representativeness of the area in which it is spoken in Hitano is minimal, but the impact in areas such as Urola Kosta is very important because here many people are related”.

Before going further into the report, note to avoid misunderstandings: the two interlocutors are talking Hitans. Among them it is played and vomited because they believe in the social function of the Hitan. They want to drive reflection, exploring between language, more in this case Hitano, and gender. Arruti: “The people we are born and educated in territories where there is much talk of Hitano, surely we are not aware of what the normal and traditional use of Hitano means. We have to see the structure and the violence behind it.”

FEELING GUILTY. If hitan is used, the toka is usually used. Hence, Eizagirre explained that there is also a sense of guilt, translating the words of the women who have participated in the noka course. “Men have kept it, but we women have not.”

All oppression is marked by language if Hitano is an
informal language and, in general, only men use it, that is, if he dominates the toka, one should not think too much about which bodies and identities are outside that informalism.

Eizagirre has put on the table the words of Onintza Legorburu, who has carried out research on the subject of Hitano and gender. His statements in ARGIA in Onintza Irureta's report: “Noka is anti-statesman.” Eizagirre was stuck with the words, so he looks at the aspects of the oppression class: “With the division of labor into capitalism, why did noka stay at home and toka not? It’s obvious.”

“Language is a reflection and creator of the structure of power,” Eizagirre continues, but he also believes it can be “an instrument of dissidence.” “It would be best if we, as speakers, took the agency; seize the opportunity to transform, as in all areas of life, language and communication.” Among other things, he has raised the reformulation of gender and the dissemination of gender in the noka course he taught in Astigarraga.

“I’m a non-binary and noka-talking bog,” says Eizagirre. All around them are women who speak noka, not binary, maricas, or feminists who question the interity of gender in general: “Both in the courses and in the informal meetings, the speaking noka that we are questioning the question of interity from the practice of what we are at that moment.”

From the anthropological and sociolinguistic point of view, the speaker should be understood as a changing subject, with a very varied context and trajectory. That is, a speaker changes, at some point in his life, or often, the linguistic repertoire, the record, the dialect, the variant or the same language. “Moving languages allow us to relate to other life changes.” That's why he says that it can be interesting to move the local language.

Beñat Arruti: "Even if a language marks more or less gender, it will always be there; it's structural." (Photo: Arnaitz Rubio / ARGIA CC BY, S.A.)

And why not, if it's the same for everyone?
“That’s the trend...” Arruti said in asking the question. But he has defended the maximum use of Hitano, first because it was the heritage of the Basque country. But it looks at their social function. Because, as has been stressed several times, Hitano is the form of a more friendly language, which transmits closeness and confidence. The latter clarified: “It has always been said that the Hitman shows the trust between two interlocutors, but I would surely enter that cafeteria in front of me and meet the male waiter, I would thread him. But I don't know, I don't know who it is. Therefore, it is not just a matter of trust.” That said, it refers to the book El erizo from the collection of Lisipe, Susa. The case quoted by Arruti is just one example to explain what Lorea Agirre and Idurre Eskisabel say in his book: “Both men are known in humanity.” They talk about kinship. Arruti says that it is not “consciously” but “inertia”.

As for the form of juice, Eizagirre wanted to stress that it is not true that it has been so repeated, that the Basque country has no gender. “This is said because there is no grammatically distinction between male and female gender, but in the lexicon there are words related to kinship. I believe that explaining gender in grammar and lexicon can be a tool, in two cases, provided that we use it in our favor”.

When we talk about Hitano, there is often talk of interity from the very beginning, and the interlocutors have not expressly considered that overriding ways of equality can lead to such equality. They say that the problem is deeper: they point to gestures, body attitudes and the forms and themes of speech. Eizagirre: “Interity is also there when we are playing. And even though men don't match men, it marks an interity. With Toka, of course, it becomes much clearer.”

Arruti, the thread, has linked gender to the performative idea: “If in a language gender is so marked or not, it will always happen, because gender is structural. Hitano explains gender inequality. Through Hitano it marks how you understand and behave with him. But besides marking, power is hierarchical. An asymmetric power of its own, albeit symbolic, is established that establishes the hegemony of masculinity”.

Eizagirre uses a simple and easy to understand example. He comments on how such an assumed response was thrown into the eyes while observing the questions and answers of a study conducted in Azpeitia. The question was addressed to a young man, to see who he was talking to. Your answer: “With everyone.” Of course, he talked about toka, so he only had men in mind.

JUVENILE WARNING. “It is said that young people speak evil of Hitano. Of course, if you haven't received it, how will you do it? To begin with, what many young people have received has been toka. Guys in general. They also collect and deliver. In the case of girls, they have surely received nothing. They will not do so unless they are done.”

Let us talk about this, there is no doubt that the Basque
language is oppressed and persecuted, but the exercises of romanticism predominate according to the principle of “saving” the Basque language. Everything that is done in Basque and around the Basque country, from the starting point, is perceived as enriching; fundamentally, because behind is the idea of the authentic, the history, the identity, the heritage, the recovery, the strengthening of an oppressed people... The interlocutors have agreed with these concepts, emphasizing that the Basque is all this, but it also takes time to analyze it from the socio-linguistic point of view: “Anyway it seems that we have to save language and Hitan.” Of course, to save it, but with its own criticism and reflection.

Photo: Arnaitz Rubio / ARGIA CC BY, S.A.

“The revitalization of Hitano and the need to raise the use of niche as a tool for all those who are not men,” said Eizagirre. Otherwise, he considers that “recovered without further” the problem would remain at the root: “If there is no question of interity, it would be problematic for us all to speak in Hitano.”

Where do we start? The key may be to ask the person in front of you how you want them to correct you, as someone may touch you because you have read him as a man, or vice versa. They consider a “concerted listening exercise” interesting, because whenever possible it cannot always be agreed.

New proposal: xoka

The Navarro group of the Gay-Les Askapen Movement of Euskal Herria has put on the table a new proposal, the xoka. It's a proposal to create a nonbinary Hitan. Simplifying, instead of k of toka or n of noka, use x all to make them not binary. That is: Replacing “starts with” or “starts with” saying “starts with”.

Xoka in November last year. Jite dissidents in Pamplona, with the aim of uniting the Basque country with gender dissent. It explained in more depth the table created for the occasion, but previously in Euskalerria Irratia the members of Kepa Yecora and Oskar Sada gave Reyes Ilintxeta several keys. They felt “need” to create an informal nonbinary language, because they perceived “emptiness”, precisely to move away from the male female and toka noco: “No toka, no noka; we rope.”

It’s a word invented by them, because language has to “advance”: “We speakers develop language, create new words and take the step.” They want to expand the Basque queer community, focusing on Nafarroa Garaia.


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