Communities

Writing
Writing
Codidact Meta
Codidact Meta
The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors
Photography & Video
Photography & Video
Scientific Speculation
Scientific Speculation
Cooking
Cooking
Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Judaism
Judaism
Languages & Linguistics
Languages & Linguistics
Software Development
Software Development
Mathematics
Mathematics
Christianity
Christianity
Code Golf
Code Golf
Music
Music
Physics
Physics
Linux Systems
Linux Systems
Power Users
Power Users
Tabletop RPGs
Tabletop RPGs
tag:snake search within a tag
answers:0 unanswered questions
user:xxxx search by author id
score:0.5 posts with 0.5+ score
"snake oil" exact phrase
votes:4 posts with 4+ votes
created:<1w created < 1 week ago
post_type:xxxx type of post
Search help
Notifications
Mark all as read
Q&A

Is obrigado used in case of unclear gender of the author?

+6
−0

In Portuguese a male speaker thanks with an «obrigado», while a female with an «obrigada».

I am reading a text (some thank you notice for buying some mass-produced industrial product with no obvious single maker) and see the word «obrigado». Can I deduce that the writer of the text is male or is there some kind of neutral male default that might be in use here?

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.
Why should this post be closed?

0 comment threads

1 answer

+5
−0

Is obrigado used in case of unclear gender of the author?

Yes.

Can I deduce that the writer of the text is male or is there some kind of neutral male default that might be in use here?

The latter; male is used as default for neutral in Portuguese.


In Portuguese, words that can have either of feminine or masculine termination (e.g. padeiro/padeira, réu/ré) default to masculine if the gender of the subject is unknown or irrelevant.

As such, when sending a personal letter, you would write obrigada if you were a woman and obrigado if you were a man.

But things are different when attribution is irrelevant, unknown, or, in this case, the author is writing in name of an entity (company, foundation, organization etc.). In these cases, one defaults to male terminations.

See, for example, the Código de Processo Penal (Criminal Procedure Law) of Brazil:

No caso de requerimento do Ministério Público, do querelante ou do réu, o juiz mandará autuá-lo em apartado, (...)


As you might be wondering, this represents an enormous headache for the proponents of neutral language. In English, change he and she for they and you are pretty much done, it is actually grammatically correct. In Portuguese, there is no neutral pronoun, and one would need to introduce not only a new pronoun in the language, but also alter the termination of most nouns (epicenos, sobrecomuns or comuns-de-dois are exceptions), articles and adjectives out there.

And I want to emphasize that the neutral variants, such as proposed in the non-binary wiki (todes, ile), are neither recognized by the normative grammar nor by the vast majority of the population. Communication will certainly be impaired if those are used, and their adopters are often subject of disdain and even animosity.

Instead, some try to circumvent gender by picking words that both are consolidated in the language and convey neutrality, such as pessoa and quem in this document from the Superior Electoral Court of Brazil.

See also: Gender neutrality in Portuguese.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.

0 comment threads

Sign up to answer this question »

This community is part of the Codidact network. We have other communities too — take a look!

You can also join us in chat!

Want to advertise this community? Use our templates!

Like what we're doing? Support us! Donate