How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

A discussion concerning replacing gendered pronouns with gender-neutral pronouns

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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#41  Postby Evolving » Oct 03, 2014 8:47 am

Yes, I sympathise, and I am trying to be rational too!

It seems to me, from the languages that I think I know well enough to be able to form a judgment, that they all have their own ways of expressing a fundamental outlook: the male as the default. English, it seems to me, because it largely lacks a grammatical gender, is the most benign of the examples that I am familiar with, and the easiest to do something about.
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#42  Postby Spearthrower » Oct 03, 2014 9:04 am

Jake wrote:How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?



Answer: You can't, because the English language is not yours to change.
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#43  Postby Spearthrower » Oct 03, 2014 9:09 am

kiore wrote:
Clive Durdle wrote:Is their a problem with "a guitar player must look after their hands"


I think that the use of the plural to refer to the singular has already become fairly common usage,...


Yup, I've done this as long as I can remember - it's something entirely normal for my generation of the UK and younger. I rarely see gendered 2nd person pronouns used as reference to an unspecified gender, and if I do, it's usually because I am reading a book from a century ago.
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#44  Postby VazScep » Oct 03, 2014 10:44 am

Evolving wrote:I admit to a certain reluctance in some cases, purely on aesthetic grounds, but I think tis is something we are going to have to get over.


kiore wrote:I think that the use of the plural to refer to the singular has already become fairly common usage,
"They" as a gender neutral pronoun dates back at least to Chaucer. You don't get much better precedent than that. It's not anything new.

The idea that you should avoid "they" because it is plural is a 19th century invention, by people who invented other dumb rules about split infinitives and sentences ending in prepositions.

Singular 'they' and the many reasons why it's correct
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#45  Postby Evolving » Oct 03, 2014 11:03 am

Well well, how about that. Good for old Geoff.
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#46  Postby Clive Durdle » Oct 03, 2014 5:06 pm

Grammaticaster, by the way, is one of my new favorite words, learned from the book Dimboxes, Epopts, and Other Quidams. It refers to a “petty, self-styled export on grammar, usually a niggling, precise type who can stab a bony finger at a dangling participle or split infinitive but lacks a true appreciation of writing in all its riches and varied styles. The rule-conscious pedant who sees writing not as good or bad but as right or wrong.” Or as the OED more briefly puts it, “A petty or inferior grammarian. (Used in contempt.)”



http://motivatedgrammar.wordpress.com/2 ... s-correct/
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#47  Postby Evolving » Oct 03, 2014 5:09 pm

Clive Durdle wrote:...export...


I'm not saying anything. No spellingcaster, me.
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#48  Postby epepke » Oct 03, 2014 5:14 pm

Evolving wrote:Well well, how about that. Good for old Geoff.


Sure, but I would draw the line at The Spouse-Equivalent of Bath.
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#49  Postby Evolving » Oct 03, 2014 5:18 pm

That would definitely be a boob, sorry, a chest.
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#50  Postby epepke » Oct 03, 2014 5:19 pm

Evolving wrote:Yes, I sympathise, and I am trying to be rational too!

It seems to me, from the languages that I think I know well enough to be able to form a judgment, that they all have their own ways of expressing a fundamental outlook: the male as the default. English, it seems to me, because it largely lacks a grammatical gender, is the most benign of the examples that I am familiar with, and the easiest to do something about.


That's why I don't trust the conclusion. It seems that way to everybody. It's a bit on the facile side. Of course that's what people find, but also, of course, that's what they are looking for. Furthermore, I've seen enough completely bogus etymology rhetoric (fuck=strike, fag=kindling, handicap=begging), that I have a high level of distrust for these arguments.
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#51  Postby Evolving » Oct 03, 2014 5:21 pm

What do you think about the other examples from German that I mentioned (on the previous page)?
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#52  Postby VazScep » Oct 03, 2014 5:42 pm

Clive Durdle wrote:
Grammaticaster, by the way, is one of my new favorite words, learned from the book Dimboxes, Epopts, and Other Quidams. It refers to a “petty, self-styled export on grammar, usually a niggling, precise type who can stab a bony finger at a dangling participle or split infinitive but lacks a true appreciation of writing in all its riches and varied styles. The rule-conscious pedant who sees writing not as good or bad but as right or wrong.” Or as the OED more briefly puts it, “A petty or inferior grammarian. (Used in contempt.)”

I wanted to adopt the word "logicaster" to refer to sophomoric philosopher types who think that arguments are syllogisms and to people who spend too much time blithering about fallacies. You know who you are.
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#53  Postby minininja » Oct 03, 2014 6:04 pm

We could all start speaking Hungarian. My Hungarian house-mate often gets confused between he/him/his and she/her/hers in English because she's not used to having to specify the gender for pronouns. Or we could just call everyone 'it'.
[Disclaimer - if this is comes across like I think I know what I'm talking about, I want to make it clear that I don't. I'm just trying to get my thoughts down]
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#54  Postby Evolving » Oct 03, 2014 6:17 pm

I had a Czech friend with the same idiosyncrasy (and obviously for the same reason). She would say, for instance, she was in town yesterday, and she did this and that, and then she spoke to Maria and his friend; and I would think, hang on, how many people are we talking about? Did I miss a male person, whose friend has now turned up?
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#55  Postby VazScep » Oct 03, 2014 6:17 pm

I just use "dick" for the male pronoun and "minge" for the female pronoun. When I'm uncertain of the genitalia, I use "person of whom I have inadequate information about genitals."
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#56  Postby Clive Durdle » Oct 03, 2014 8:35 pm

Evolving wrote:
Clive Durdle wrote:...export...


I'm not saying anything. No spellingcaster, me.



I think actually that might have been deliberate! It is a quote from

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/9780894801556 ... 801554/plp

Might things coming from rear ends be exports?

Sometimes words fail in describing a person or a situation. Or, more precisely, our vocabulary comes up short. No more! Armed with this compendium of bona fide and arcane words, you will never again be stymied in providing an appropriate label! Logophiles will consume this entertaining little book with enthusiasm and delight. The author has included some exceptional artwork to add to the definitions of such individuals as aristarchs (a severe but fair critic) and giroutte (someone who is continually changing opinions)
5* Amazon review
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#57  Postby epepke » Oct 03, 2014 8:42 pm

VazScep wrote:I just use "dick" for the male pronoun and "minge" for the female pronoun. When I'm uncertain of the genitalia, I use "person of whom I have inadequate information about genitals."


I kind of like she, he, and/or it. This is a bit unwieldy, so I shorten it to s/h/it.
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#58  Postby tuco » Oct 03, 2014 8:53 pm

hackenslash wrote:I'm far more interested in verb tenses appropriate for time travellers myself. Not seeing the value of marmalising the language to deal with gender distinctions.


Same here. I am interested in reducing tenses in English to 3: past - present - future, in other words moving towards more logical language. I was even told that Mandarin for example does not have tenses at all.
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#59  Postby epepke » Oct 03, 2014 9:06 pm

tuco wrote:
hackenslash wrote:I'm far more interested in verb tenses appropriate for time travellers myself. Not seeing the value of marmalising the language to deal with gender distinctions.


Same here. I am interested in reducing tenses in English to 3: past - present - future, in other words moving towards more logical language. I was even told that Mandarin for example does not have tenses at all.


English doesn't even really have a future tense. It's all helping verbs.
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Re: How can we entirely eliminate gendered pronouns?

#60  Postby Spearthrower » Oct 03, 2014 9:14 pm

tuco wrote:
hackenslash wrote:I'm far more interested in verb tenses appropriate for time travellers myself. Not seeing the value of marmalising the language to deal with gender distinctions.


Same here. I am interested in reducing tenses in English to 3: past - present - future, in other words moving towards more logical language. I was even told that Mandarin for example does not have tenses at all.


Thai has no tenses at all. There's no conjugation with a verb whatsoever. To indicate an action past, an action in the future, an action that happened before a point in the past or before a point in the future, an action that happens frequently or is happening just now temporarily... all use time marker words.

So 'laow' means 'already complete', 'ja' means 'happening later', 'keuy' means 'an action in the past that was repeated or which is incomplete'.

However, English also lacks tenses for many of the typical ones used in Latin languages, for example. It uses modal auxiliary verbs like 'will' and even pseudo-modal verbs like 'used to'.

One things for sure - no matter how well you think you know your own language, you really don't know your own language until you study it as if it was a foreign language! :)
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