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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 09-01-2012, 01:15 PM   #136
pdurrant
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Originally Posted by Prestidigitweeze View Post
But if we're willing to defer to the male-specific gender there, then why not in the case of the pronoun he? Could it be we're overreacting to a red herring based on our mistaking secondary associations for the actual intention and function?
I think the difference is that for things like actor/actress, there is not the tight association with the base word with the male sex that there is with the male third person singular pronoun, "he".

Personally, I like the male/female words, but I'm willing to forgo them if they people involved prefer to move towards a unified word.

And when we consider professions which don't have separate words (e.g. weaver), it would seem pretty odd to try to add in a separate word. Can anyone imagine calling a female weaver a weavress?

So on the whole, it probably is the way the language will go. The simpler option (one word per profession) will win out.
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Old 09-01-2012, 03:20 PM   #137
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As a young girl, I always hated the default to he & his.
Made me think my gender wasn't as important as the other.

Adding a new non-specific genderless pronoun would only serve to confuse.

Referring to a person as "it" is demeaning, as "it" is for articles, and sub-human life-forms.
Not appropriate to use with humans, it's insulting.

Having friends who cross-dress and enter pageants for cross-dressers, I am good with referring to them as "they" as quite often they name their other persona...therefore being more than one individual!

And whatever gender an individual identifies with, I will call them whatever they prefer to be referred to as.

But I must say, when "Ban shakes their head" I do see a two-headed life form...
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Old 09-01-2012, 03:38 PM   #138
Andrew H.
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Not missing. Refuting. In English grammar, "technically correct" is just a synonym for "popular among grammarians". Nothing to do with whether it's proper English.

It's like split infinitives. Grammarians have been insisting for a century of two that splitting the infinitive is wrong in English. It isn't. Just as it's fine to end a sentence with a preposition if the sentence works that way.

It only remains for me to boldly state that these sort of simple-rule based criticisms of my language are something I'll no longer put up with. Any person who tells me I'm wrong can go [expletive deleted] themselves.
Actually, you have it backwards. Grammarians (i.e., linguists who study grammar) have been pointing out that split infinitives have existed in English since the 1300's. It's just a couple of random writers of usage guides who have promoted the no-split-infinitive rule, with no justification at all. And even usage guides for the past 100 years have found no problem with ending sentences with prepositions, but this idea still persists among some people who took as gospel some bit of misinformation that an English teacher may have told them years ago.

I do find it very interesting sociologically, though.
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Old 09-01-2012, 03:52 PM   #139
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Actually, you have it backwards. Grammarians (i.e., linguists who study grammar) have been pointing out that split infinitives have existed in English since the 1300's. It's just a couple of random writers of usage guides who have promoted the no-split-infinitive rule, with no justification at all. And even usage guides for the past 100 years have found no problem with ending sentences with prepositions, but this idea still persists among some people who took as gospel some bit of misinformation that an English teacher may have told them years ago.

I do find it very interesting sociologically, though.
I apologise to the grammarians.
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:00 PM   #140
Andrew H.
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English also has several male and female versions of job descriptions or titles:

actor/actress
waiter/waitress
comedian/comedienne
baron/baroness

For some of these, there is a move away from using the female version to using only the male version.

This is especially prevalent in the acting profession.

I'm uncertain as to whether this is a good, bad or neutral thing. But from common politeness, if a female acting professional wants to be called an actor, I'll call her that.
I'm familiar with actresses wanting to be called actors; I think it's pretty widespread in the profession. It is interesting, though, how in a lot of cases the gender specificity is avoided by choosing a new word entirely. I.e., stewardesses and stewards did not default to steward; they became flight attendants. The most popular gender neutral solution for waiter/waitress is "server" (although this seems to only be the common choice among restaurants; I don't know anyone who uses the term casually.)

I assume that there is no "bartendress" because bartenders were traditionally always male. "Stripper" is interesting; even though the term applies to women by default it ends in -er, presumably at a time where -er lost the masculine connotation it once had. The male version is "male stripper" (and this is an area where the distinction is more important than in most other fields): a waiter or a waitress can provide you with equally good service, but I don't think that male and female strippers are interchangeable in that way.

I still occasionally see prosecutrix used, but only in the term "rape prosecutrix," and not to distinguish between male and female prosecuting attorneys.
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