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View Poll Results: Do you want English to have a genderless pronoun?
No. 37 48.68%
He works for me. 7 9.21%
She works for me. 0 0%
He/she works for me 0 0%
Alternating he and she in example works for me. 1 1.32%
Yes. 31 40.79%
Voters: 76. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-17-2012, 01:12 AM   #1
bigjantailor
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Is it time English adopt a genderless pronoun?

I do a bit of technical writing and I can't stand the he/she or he or alternating he then she every other example. So want a genderless pronoun. How about you?

Have fun, Jan Tailor

Last edited by bigjantailor; 07-17-2012 at 01:17 AM.
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:37 AM   #2
gmw
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How about it?

More seriously, doesn't they and their etc. cover most of the requirement? I came across this article recently: A singular use of they.
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
How about it?

More seriously, doesn't they and their etc. cover most of the requirement? I came across this article recently: A singular use of they.
Funny thing, I was thinking about this the other day. I was talking to my brother and realized for the first time that I use "they" and "their" in conversation when I don't know the sex of a person. It really opened my eyes and I actually thought about writing a blog post about it. Then I sobered up and realized I didn't have enough material for a whole post.
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Old 07-17-2012, 03:17 AM   #4
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It's always them what causes us problems.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:26 AM   #5
murraypaul
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Another vote for singular they.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:35 AM   #6
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Yeah, I am seeing "they" used more and more. I personally use it, as I think it is much cleaner then "he or she."

Of course there is always himer and shim
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:49 AM   #7
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The word "hen"=someone genderless/androgynous is being used more and more in Sweden. Otherwise it's "hon"=her and "han"=him.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by owly View Post
The word "hen"=someone genderless/androgynous is being used more and more in Sweden. Otherwise it's "hon"=her and "han"=him.
I've seen "hir" and "zir" used a fair bit. I'll be honest, though, I kinda prefer "they." It doesn't require us bringing more words into the vocabulary.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:22 AM   #9
desertgrandma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjantailor View Post
I do a bit of technical writing and I can't stand the he/she or he or alternating he then she every other example. So want a genderless pronoun. How about you?

Have fun, Jan Tailor
Okay, so I'm not a writer of any kind, and perhaps I don't belong here.......however..........what the heck. You did say "have fun".

Aack. Since there are no "genderless" people that I know of, I do not want to read a "genderless" pronoun.

Now, I know there are a lot of people out there confused about their gender, I'm sure, but the "he/she" solution would work best for me and them.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:23 AM   #10
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Yuk, no need to make up nonsense words.
The correct English usage for something of definite but unknown gender is he.
However that is no longer socially acceptable (even though linguistically correct), and they is by far the best alternative.
So my answer to the poll would be: In practice, it already does

Last edited by murraypaul; 07-17-2012 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 07-17-2012, 03:57 PM   #11
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There is an ungendered manner of refering to she or he: "that person".

As murraypaul said, if you don't know, it' "he". Here in Brazil it's the same (portuguese language).
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Old 07-17-2012, 04:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murraypaul View Post
Yuk, no need to make up nonsense words.
The correct English usage for something of definite but unknown gender is he.
However that is no longer socially acceptable (even though linguistically correct), and they is by far the best alternative.
So my answer to the poll would be: In practice, it already does
Exactly what I wanted to say. I assume murraypaul is a male, but, just to be safe, they put it very well
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Old 07-17-2012, 04:24 PM   #13
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When I first saw the heading, I thought that someone was seeking the answer to how we refer to transgenders.

There are now categories given on some checklists and
questionnaires like:

Sex/gender:
. other
. non-specified
. changeable
. "work in progress"
...

How do we, can we, or do we try to indicate these in a casual dialog, in a more formal dialog, and finally in a deterministic manner?

Do we end up seemingly trying to solidify a wisp of vapor.
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Old 07-17-2012, 04:26 PM   #14
QuantumIguana
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The only thing correct about "he" is someone saying it is correct. Language changes. "He" is a holdover from when it could be assumed that that the person in question was male. It became increasingly illogical over time. "He or she" is clumsy, "s/he" is awkward at best, and how do you say it? "It" implies a thing rather than a person. We could adopt words like "zir", but that's not going to happen.

Singular "they" is here to stay, it's the most natural solution. It's not a new idea, it's been used as a singular for centuries.

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Old 07-17-2012, 07:47 PM   #15
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In my technical translation work I tend to use "they" just to play safe.
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