Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

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Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#1  Postby Rainbow Simon » Nov 03, 2020 10:40 am

I was thinking the other day about pronouns and an idea occurred to me. Why not have separate pronouns for sex and gender. We already have pronouns for sex so it would simply be a matter of adding pronouns for the genders.

That way there would always be distinction and clarity as we would always know whether someone is being referred to by their sex or by their gender, as well as which sex/gender is being referred to. I'm surprised I haven't come across this.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#2  Postby I'm With Stupid » Nov 03, 2020 12:00 pm

In what situation are you imagining this to be useful? The problem is that pronouns aren't used to refer to someone's sex or gender, they're used to refer to the person, who just happens to be a particular sex or gender. So if you're referring to someone and you're not specifically talking about this particular issue, maybe just whether they'd like some ice cream or something, then which one do you use?
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#3  Postby NineBerry » Nov 03, 2020 12:32 pm

In most cases that pronouns are used, you actually don't know a concrete person.

"The next person that comes through this door, I will give ? 100 dollars because ? will be the one hundredth customer."

The absolutely easiest change would be to just introduce gender neutral pronouns.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#4  Postby Rachel Bronwyn » Nov 03, 2020 12:48 pm

I don't give enough of a shit to apply a second set of pronouns to everyone. I'm going to use whatever pronouns seem appropriate to me. If people want to inform me that they'd prefer I use different pronouns to refer to them, that's fine. I'll either do so or, if I think they're being ridiculous, just won't interact with them. Anyone who required me to address them with multiple sets of pronouns would fall in that category. I am tired and I don't care.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#5  Postby NineBerry » Nov 03, 2020 1:40 pm

When using the English language, I have mostly switched to using singular they/them as pronouns when the sex or gender of the actual person is not known.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#6  Postby Rachel Bronwyn » Nov 03, 2020 2:03 pm

I've gotten in trouble for using they/them too. I've just stopped caring. If people are bothered by the pronouns I use to address them they can inform me.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#7  Postby Rainbow Simon » Nov 03, 2020 2:54 pm

I'm With Stupid wrote:In what situation are you imagining this to be useful? The problem is that pronouns aren't used to refer to someone's sex or gender, they're used to refer to the person, who just happens to be a particular sex or gender. So if you're referring to someone and you're not specifically talking about this particular issue, maybe just whether they'd like some ice cream or something, then which one do you use?


I hear you however if you are specifically referring to someone's sex or their gender, it would be helpful to have pronouns for both, and for those pronouns to not overlap so as to avoid confusion.

So for example if I'm referring to someone who is biologically male but their gender is female, no one needs to be confused as to whether I'm referring to them in terms of their sex or their gender.

i.e.

Sex :
- Male-He/Man
- Female-She/Woman

Gender :
- Male-xxx/xxxxx
- Female-yyy/xxxxx
etc
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#8  Postby Cito di Pense » Nov 03, 2020 3:28 pm

Rainbow Simon wrote:it would be helpful


If you want to get on this train, you should probably be prepared to say when it would be helpful.

Rainbow Simon wrote:so as to avoid confusion.


I'm not confused. Gendering is about discourse and sex is about biology.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#9  Postby Calilasseia » Nov 03, 2020 3:54 pm

Too many people are getting their knickers in a twist over the "taxonomy problem" as it is, without exacerbating matters.

Instead of trying to classify people in ever more constricted pigeonholes, how about we simply put them all in one box labelled "human", and behave accordingly?
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#10  Postby I'm With Stupid » Nov 03, 2020 6:26 pm

NineBerry wrote:In most cases that pronouns are used, you actually don't know a concrete person.

"The next person that comes through this door, I will give ? 100 dollars because ? will be the one hundredth customer."

The absolutely easiest change would be to just introduce gender neutral pronouns.

While I appreciate the example, I'd question whether that usage represents anything close to the majority of cases that pronouns are used. I haven't checked the data, but I'd guess almost certainly the most common usage is talking to someone about a known third person (in which we almost always know the gender). But we already have a gender neutral pronoun for the example you give. We just use 'they' despite some people's insistence on "he or she," which is just irritating and long-winded.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#11  Postby I'm With Stupid » Nov 03, 2020 6:31 pm

Rainbow Simon wrote:I hear you however if you are specifically referring to someone's sex or their gender, it would be helpful to have pronouns for both, and for those pronouns to not overlap so as to avoid confusion.

Can you give an example of when you would be referring to their sex or gender specifically and using particular pronouns would help avoid confusion?
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#12  Postby Rainbow Simon » Nov 03, 2020 6:39 pm

I'm With Stupid wrote:
Rainbow Simon wrote:I hear you however if you are specifically referring to someone's sex or their gender, it would be helpful to have pronouns for both, and for those pronouns to not overlap so as to avoid confusion.

Can you give an example of when you would be referring to their sex or gender specifically and using particular pronouns would help avoid confusion?


Yes, when someone says he, they're referring to the person in terms of their sex or gender. Same with she. That's what those words are for. They're specifically for referring to someone in those terms.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#13  Postby zeeble » Nov 03, 2020 6:46 pm

Rachel Bronwyn wrote:I don't give enough of a shit to apply a second set of pronouns to everyone. I'm going to use whatever pronouns seem appropriate to me. If people want to inform me that they'd prefer I use different pronouns to refer to them, that's fine. I'll either do so or, if I think they're being ridiculous, just won't interact with them. Anyone who required me to address them with multiple sets of pronouns would fall in that category. I am tired and I don't care.


call them by the name they want to be addressed by. Pronoun nonsense is same.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#14  Postby don't get me started » Nov 04, 2020 4:22 am

Maybe we are revealing our Anglo bias here in insisting that pronouns are actually necessary... :naughty2:

Many languages have a very fluid relationship with pronouns and can get by with massive amounts of omission.
These languages are referred to as Pro-drop languages.

See here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro-drop_language

Japanese is one such language and from the outside in it is often hard to make out what the hell is going on,
but the natives just battle on through. The other day don't get her started dropped one of these on me and it took a
fair amount of effort (other-initiated repair in the technical jargon) to get to the bottom of it all. This was what it looked
like in a literal English translation.

Her: Yes, so anyways, the thing is, kind of like, ... take to bus stop. 10:10 start. More convenient.

Me: What?

Her: Are you stupid?

What I was supposed to glean from that utterance was:

Can you take her (daughter) to the bus stop this morning to catch her bus at the usual time?
We (you and me) have to be at the school for the sports day by 10:10,
so if you take her, I can start getting ready now, and then we won't be late.


On second thoughts, maybe pro-drop is not the way to go... :think: ;)
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#15  Postby OlivierK » Nov 04, 2020 11:32 am

:lol:

I've visited Japan a few times, but my Japanese isn't up to the level of getting any of this sort of nuance. I've just got a bunch of basic words and I'm stretching it to make a sentence where the verb isn't desu or deshita. But in Japanese you can go a fair way with just one verb, and your gaijin card.

One thing that we really noticed, though, was the utter, utter uselessness of automated translation for things like hotel or tourism websites like Tripadvisor. It's clear that the entire structure of Japanese does not map well to English, and it's no surprise that pronoun use is one area that contributes to that mismatch.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#16  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Nov 04, 2020 2:40 pm

don't get me started wrote:Maybe we are revealing our Anglo bias here in insisting that pronouns are actually necessary... :naughty2:

Many languages have a very fluid relationship with pronouns and can get by with massive amounts of omission.
These languages are referred to as Pro-drop languages.

See here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro-drop_language

Japanese is one such language and from the outside in it is often hard to make out what the hell is going on,
but the natives just battle on through. The other day don't get her started dropped one of these on me and it took a
fair amount of effort (other-initiated repair in the technical jargon) to get to the bottom of it all. This was what it looked
like in a literal English translation.

Her: Yes, so anyways, the thing is, kind of like, ... take to bus stop. 10:10 start. More convenient.

Me: What?

Her: Are you stupid?

What I was supposed to glean from that utterance was:

Can you take her (daughter) to the bus stop this morning to catch her bus at the usual time?
We (you and me) have to be at the school for the sports day by 10:10,
so if you take her, I can start getting ready now, and then we won't be late.


On second thoughts, maybe pro-drop is not the way to go... :think: ;)

The context is often quite important, from my experience in Japan.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#17  Postby I'm With Stupid » Nov 04, 2020 4:27 pm

Rainbow Simon wrote:
I'm With Stupid wrote:
Rainbow Simon wrote:I hear you however if you are specifically referring to someone's sex or their gender, it would be helpful to have pronouns for both, and for those pronouns to not overlap so as to avoid confusion.

Can you give an example of when you would be referring to their sex or gender specifically and using particular pronouns would help avoid confusion?


Yes, when someone says he, they're referring to the person in terms of their sex or gender. Same with she. That's what those words are for. They're specifically for referring to someone in those terms.

That's not an example. That's just repeating what you've already said in different words. Ironic for someone who's apparently keen on clarity of language.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#18  Postby Ironclad » Nov 04, 2020 5:45 pm

Just call everyone, “mate”. Job done.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#19  Postby scott1328 » Nov 05, 2020 4:15 pm

one only need realize that english does have genderless pronouns that one can use gramatically. when one uses them enough, one is often asked to remove the stick from one’s ass, and speak normally.
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Re: Pronouns for sex & pronouns for gender

#20  Postby Challenger007 » Jan 05, 2021 12:37 pm

Well, usually you understand very clearly from the context what it is about - about sex as a process or about gender. Therefore, of course, you can use both words to indicate the sex of a person, but in context, you will never confuse the meaning of the word "sex".
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