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Thread: gender neutralization in language

  1. #11
    Senior Member Array Opal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    I want to think you're joking, but it doesn't seem like you are? If you're not, then I'm awfully curious if there's a difference in reaction between Ts and Fs on the prospect of being called 'it'.
    But you're the same type? Though I think he was joking, being called "it" would probably invalidate everything else that person said. No offense, just dismissal.

  2. #12
    Post Human Post Array Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solipsists View Post
    But you're the same type? Though I think he was joking, being called "it" would probably invalidate everything else that person said. No offense, just dismissal.
    Oh, *looks again*. Redbone was T last time I checked, it has changed its type since.

  3. #13
    Finis Array Redbone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solipsists View Post
    But you're the same type? Though I think he she was joking, being called "it" would probably invalidate everything else that person said. No offense, just dismissal.
    Yeah *shakes fist at @Qlip*.

    I just felt bad for "it" being overlooked and neglected. Is that F-enough?

  4. #14


    We need one. I tend to use 'one,' 'they,' 'he,' 'he/she,' and 'he or she' to describe any particular singular.. depends on my mood and the context. All of those are not without problems.

    See also: A Person Paper on Purity in Language
    Another of Niss Moses' shrill objections is to the age-old differentiation of whites from blacks by the third-person pronouns "whe" and "ble." Ble promotes an absurd notion: that what we really need in English is a single pronoun covering both races. Numerous suggestions have been made, such as "pe," "tey," and others, These are all repugnant to the nature of the English language, as the average white in the street will testify, even if whe has no linguistic training whatsoever. Then there are advocates of usages such as "whe or ble," "whis or bler," and so forth. This makes for monstrosities such as the sentence "When the next President takes office, whe or ble will have to choose whis or bler cabinet with great care, for whe or ble would not want to offend any minorities." Contrast this with the spare elegance of the normal way of putting it, and there is no question which way we ought to speak. There are, of course, some yapping black libbers who advocate writing "bl/whe" everywhere, which, aside from looking terrible, has no reasonable pronunciation. Shall we say "blooey" all the time when we simply mean "whe"? Who wants to sound like a white with a chronic sneeze?

    See also: 5 Ways You Didn't Realize the English Language Is Defective
    The Swedish simply invented their own word that meant "he or she" and ran with it. People have tried this trick with English as well, inventing gender-neutral pronouns like "xe" and "zie," but none of them ever really caught on, probably because most English-speakers don't like sounding like they're in a cyberpunk novel from 1988.

    The irony is that this was actually solved as far back as the 14th century by using our now-incorrect "they" to mean "he or she." Chaucer and Shakespeare both used it, and it was only in the 18th century that a grammarian named Anne "Fuck Shakespeare" Fisher kicked off the anti-they trend and declared it improper.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Array Alea_iacta_est's Avatar
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    Dec 2013


    I find it interesting that we don't use female pronouns unless we have to excepting if what we are talking about is a naval vessel, a nation, or something like that.

    We really do need a third person non-gender pronoun that isn't "it" (because that sounds derogatory and has the connotation of non-human). Perhaps we need to make a more speech comfortable version of the third person pronoun "one" that has a possessive form that isn't "one's".

  6. #16
    Alchemist of life Array Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superunknown View Post
    is this something to strive for?
    Yes, inasmuch as accuracy in our writing and speaking is something to strive for. If you mean male, use he; if you mean female, use she. If you mean either/or, you somehow need to reflect this in your words, since he's are not she's, and vice versa.

    There are many ways to handle this. Use of "one" or "he/she" has been suggested. One can also explain at the beginning of a document that the use of "he" or "she" therein should be taken to refer to both genders. I have seen writing that alternates pronoun by topic, page, or paragraph.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redbone View Post
    Nobody wants to use "it"?
    English is different from at least some other languages in that our supposedly neuter pronoun "it" tends to be reserved for inanimate objects, while our "he" and "she" are only for animate objects, with the few exceptions noted (e.g. ships). Even in these exceptions, the use of "she" has the effect of anthropomorphizing the indicated item, suggesting it has a personality despite its inanimate nature. Other languages, by contrast, use their equivalents of he and she to refer to all manner of things from lamps to houses to qualities like justice and love. Some languages don't have a neuter pronoun. Some do, and even use it for people sometimes (e.g. German "Mädchen").

    So, in English the use of neuter removes not just an assumed gender, but to some extent, the humanity of the subject.
    Hope is the denial of reality. It is the carrot dangled before the draft horse to keep him plodding along in a vain attempt to reach it. We should remove the carrot and walk forward with our eyes open. -- Raistlin Majere

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