Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#61  Postby Goldenmane » Aug 24, 2010 2:25 pm

Scott H wrote:'They' is plural; 'participant' is singular.


Bullshit.

"Whichever cunt left this shit lying around, I've got one message for them: they'd better come back and clean this shit up right now!"

We're using English, the bastard mutant offspring of every language under the sun. We aren't using Latin, least of all a formal version of it where there are strictly rigid rules. No language ever fucking works like that anyway. Language operates by consensus, where interlocutors agree upon what words mean given the context in which they're used. Fuck, I'll bet my left ball to a nice house in the country that most motherfuckers who actually spoke Latin back when it was a "living" language cocked about with it as casually as we do with our common vernacular. Sure, some cunt wrote rules down about structure and verb declension and all that shit, but pretty much no bastard ever actually spoke like that until it had become ritualised.

Rules are made to be broken. Sure, learn the rules, but only as a means to learn where and how and when they may be most effectively broken.

'They' is plural my arse.
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#62  Postby Scott H » Aug 24, 2010 8:28 pm

Goldenmane wrote:
Scott H wrote:'They' is plural; 'participant' is singular.


Bullshit.

"Whichever cunt left this shit lying around, I've got one message for them: they'd better come back and clean this shit up right now!"

We're using English, the bastard mutant offspring of every language under the sun. We aren't using Latin, least of all a formal version of it where there are strictly rigid rules. No language ever fucking works like that anyway. Language operates by consensus, where interlocutors agree upon what words mean given the context in which they're used.


Interesting. Allow me to present a cogent objection to your argument:

Fuck, fuckity fuck-fuck-fuck. Fuck-a-duck-duck the fuck-fuck truck. Fuck-a-dilly-ding-dong shut-th'-fuck-up, the fuck-fuck farted in the fuck-fuck truck.

Now, I would make it less ambiguous, but it is important to understand that we are playing a Wittgensteinian language game operating by consensus of the Three Great Kings of Fuckington.

GreyICE wrote:
Scott H wrote:Alright, let's use my first example.

1. "If the soldier confronts a group of hostiles, then they are expected to take cover and protect themselves."
2. "If the soldier confronts a group of hostiles, then one is expected to take cover and protect oneself."

[...]

Well, you have identified a problem. You don't understand pronouns in English. Subjective pronouns refer to the subject preceding them.

You'll note your first sentence has similar 'ambiguity' (if you don't understand English) if you make both the subject and object plural, or make the subject and object singular. But our language doesn't have that issue. You would be using objective pronouns if it were referring to the object (him, her, us, them, etc.). The hostiles would be 'them' as they're the object of the sentence. That's how sentences like "He had them lead the parade" function properly.


If that were the case, we'd rewrite it as,

"If the soldier confronts a group of hostiles, then them are expected to take cover and protect themselves."

Unless you're fond of certain dialects, this is clearly incorrect pronoun usage. (Though it needs to be added that we are discussing a distinction between singular and plural that makes the use of 'they' complicated.)
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#63  Postby Kazaman » Aug 24, 2010 9:03 pm

Notice how both examples fail to communicate the desired meaning. In the first, 'they' could refer to the hostiles or some other group, and in the second, 'one' could refer to anyone -- not just the soldier, as the case may be required.


The second example does indeed fail; however, the first example is perfect. Yes, perfect. In replacing the subject and object of the sentence with pronouns, this becomes clear:

"If they confront them, then they are expected to take cover and protect themselves [from them]."
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#64  Postby Areopagitican » Aug 24, 2010 9:30 pm

Hey, it's a wild Kazaman!
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#65  Postby Kazaman » Aug 24, 2010 9:40 pm

Areopagtican wrote:Hey, it's a wild Kazaman!

Holy shit! :shock:
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#66  Postby Just A Theory » Aug 24, 2010 10:33 pm

Scott H wrote:Another problem with 'they': What if you're talking about two subjects, one plural and one singular, and you have to use 'they' to refer to the singular? Wouldn't that be a bit... awkward?

"If the soldier confronts a group of hostiles, then they are expected to take cover and protect themselves." Wha-- who's they?

I still think you're being a bit harsh in your denunciation of my fun little project.


But I don't understand the awkwardness and your reference to 'they' sounding uneducated is also at odds with common perception. Let me explain:

As has been referenced earlier in this thread, English formerly had two second person pronouns 'thou' (singular) and 'ye' (plural) and both were replaced by 'you'. Thus we form linguistic constructs 'you are happy' and 'you are all happy' - in context, the word 'all' can be dropped from the second construct. A little thought reveals that 'you' easily switches from the singular to the plural and that most have no difficulty grasping the difference. 'They' is another such case and one has little difficulty in determining correct meaning from context.

With regards to sounding uneducated, many people refer to the word "y'all" as the hallmark of a lack of formal education. However, that particular word is given a separate identity to 'you' in the hillbilly dialect and is grammatically identical to the older English 'thou' and 'ye' (you and y'all respectively). Thus, the hillbillies have preserved an older English grammatical structure that even highly educated Professors of English have lost. The point is that English changes over time and 'educatedness' is more a product of current correctness that from any purity of form.
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#67  Postby Just A Theory » Aug 24, 2010 10:44 pm

Scott H wrote:
If that were the case, we'd rewrite it as,

"If the soldier confronts a group of hostiles, then them are expected to take cover and protect themselves."

Unless you're fond of certain dialects, this is clearly incorrect pronoun usage. (Though it needs to be added that we are discussing a distinction between singular and plural that makes the use of 'they' complicated.)


You've made the same mistake again. The pronoun in the above sentence can only be used to refer to the subject and not the object. English does not allow for the object referent to be placed in that position without restructuring the sentence completely.

"If the soldier confronts a group of hostiles then the latter are expected to take cover and protect themselves"

I will however admit that altering the tense does make usage of 'they' clumsy (well, 'themselves'). Maybe we need 'themself' :P

"When the soldier confronted a group of hostiles they took cover and protected themselves"
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#68  Postby Gila Guerilla » Aug 25, 2010 1:02 am

shh wrote:"In order that the participant be fully aware of the guidelines they must yadayada." :D
"In order that any participants be fully aware of the guidelines they must yadayada."

"In order that a participant be fully aware of the guidelines, he or she must, yadayada."
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#69  Postby shh » Aug 25, 2010 1:07 am

Make sure everyone knows the guidelines. :lol:
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#70  Postby Kazaman » Aug 25, 2010 1:21 am

"In order that a participant be fully aware of the guidelines, he or she must, yadayada."


"He or she" is superfluous when we already have a working albeit ad hoc system of neuter pronouns.
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#71  Postby GreyICE » Aug 25, 2010 5:15 am

Scott H wrote:
GreyICE wrote:
Scott H wrote:Alright, let's use my first example.

1. "If the soldier confronts a group of hostiles, then they are expected to take cover and protect themselves."
2. "If the soldier confronts a group of hostiles, then one is expected to take cover and protect oneself."

[...]

Well, you have identified a problem. You don't understand pronouns in English. Subjective pronouns refer to the subject preceding them.

You'll note your first sentence has similar 'ambiguity' (if you don't understand English) if you make both the subject and object plural, or make the subject and object singular. But our language doesn't have that issue. You would be using objective pronouns if it were referring to the object (him, her, us, them, etc.). The hostiles would be 'them' as they're the object of the sentence. That's how sentences like "He had them lead the parade" function properly.


If that were the case, we'd rewrite it as,

"If the soldier confronts a group of hostiles, then them are expected to take cover and protect themselves."

Unless you're fond of certain dialects, this is clearly incorrect pronoun usage. (Though it needs to be added that we are discussing a distinction between singular and plural that makes the use of 'they' complicated.)


No Scott, basic parts of speech right now.

This is a compound sentence.
the subject of the sentence - Soldier.
Verb - confronts
Object - group

If the soldier confronts a group of hostiles,

Now the 'if/then' indicates a compound sentence. This one has a compound verb, and another verb phrase (it's a mess, basically).

The second phrase is
[subject] are expected to take cover and protect themselves

So, as you can see, you are replacing the SUBJECT of the sentence with a pronoun. So why would you use an objective pronoun? That's fucked up!

As for the tense change, it is entirely appropriate. The major problem with the sentence is it's passive as fuck. 'are expected' implies that there exists a body that expects something of them. To rewrite it to work properly in English, remove the passive.

If a soldier confronts a group of hostiles, the US Army expects the soldier to take cover and defend themselves.

Now the hidden subject pops the fuck out of the sentence, which solves a whole ton of problems.
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#72  Postby Scott H » Aug 26, 2010 1:12 am

GreyICE wrote:No Scott, basic parts of speech right now.

This is a compound sentence.
the subject of the sentence - Soldier.
Verb - confronts
Object - group

If the soldier confronts a group of hostiles,

Now the 'if/then' indicates a compound sentence. This one has a compound verb, and another verb phrase (it's a mess, basically).

The second phrase is
[subject] are expected to take cover and protect themselves

So, as you can see, you are replacing the SUBJECT of the sentence with a pronoun. So why would you use an objective pronoun? That's fucked up!


All right, I'll elaborate for you. In reference to the sentence, "If the soldier confronts a group of hostiles, then they are expected to take cover and protect themselves," you wrote:

You'll note your first sentence has similar 'ambiguity' (if you don't understand English) if you make both the subject and object plural, or make the subject and object singular. But our language doesn't have that issue. You would be using objective pronouns if it were referring to the object (him, her, us, them, etc.). The hostiles would be 'them' as they're the object of the sentence. That's how sentences like "He had them lead the parade" function properly.

So 'they' must refer to the subject. Basic English.


Here, you say, "the hostiles would be 'them' as they are the object of the sentence." Actually, they are the object of the first clause, and the possible subject of the second clause. So looking at it from a viewpoint of limited information, you can't say that they are the "object of the sentence." In the second clause, they could be the subject. 'They' could refer to the hostiles.

This is basic English. I'm not going to get bogged down in these rude, egotistical discussions in which so few people are intelligent enough to admit when they are wrong. I will say, however, that my original post was a step in the right direction. Quite frankly, I am unimpressed with the response.
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#73  Postby GreyICE » Aug 26, 2010 2:35 am

Scott H wrote:All right, I'll elaborate for you. In reference to the sentence, "If the soldier confronts a group of hostiles, then they are expected to take cover and protect themselves," you wrote:

You'll note your first sentence has similar 'ambiguity' (if you don't understand English) if you make both the subject and object plural, or make the subject and object singular. But our language doesn't have that issue. You would be using objective pronouns if it were referring to the object (him, her, us, them, etc.). The hostiles would be 'them' as they're the object of the sentence. That's how sentences like "He had them lead the parade" function properly.

So 'they' must refer to the subject. Basic English.


Here, you say, "the hostiles would be 'them' as they are the object of the sentence." Actually, they are the object of the first clause, and the possible subject of the second clause. So looking at it from a viewpoint of limited information, you can't say that they are the "object of the sentence." In the second clause, they could be the subject. 'They' could refer to the hostiles.

This is basic English. I'm not going to get bogged down in these rude, egotistical discussions in which so few people are intelligent enough to admit when they are wrong. I will say, however, that my original post was a step in the right direction. Quite frankly, I am unimpressed with the response.


*sigh*
Scott, if you truly believe the pronoun use is ambiguous (you're wrong, but lets move on), English hands you a wonderful way to deal with it. Just restate the subject.

Your supposed pronoun solves nothing in this case. All we have to do is pluralize 'soldier' (to soldiers) and the sentence goes right back to being ambiguous with or without your irrelevant pronoun.

So you restate your subject rather than using a pronoun. This is done all the time - the first time it shows up in a paragraph, any time multiple possible subjects have been introduced, whatever. So you've solved a problem that only exists because you're not using this language properly. Meanwhile you've dicked up the entire language by disconnecting the written from the spoken, which is fucking stupid - that's the only way to describe it.

You keep saying the same thing again, and again, and again, and it really doesn't make you right. Just repetitive.
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#74  Postby Just A Theory » Aug 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Scott H wrote:
Here, you say, "the hostiles would be 'them' as they are the object of the sentence." Actually, they are the object of the first clause, and the possible subject of the second clause. So looking at it from a viewpoint of limited information, you can't say that they are the "object of the sentence." In the second clause, they could be the subject. 'They' could refer to the hostiles.


The above is incorrect. If it were correct then the following sentences would make logical sense:

#1 If a bullet strikes a window, it is expected to shatter into a million pieces.
#2 If a man is bitten by a dog, it is expected that he will be put down.

I understand that you can work out the meaning of the sentences, it's not even overly difficult. But the sentences are jarring precisely because they do not agree with standard grammatical forms.

You are able to pose your question because English itself allows meaning to be inferred from context and not the other way around. Thus, if a sentence does not make sense as in sentence #1 above, the logical thought process is for the reader to realise that it doesn't make sense and to try out different grammatical configurations until it does. So the automatic process for the reader of such a sentence is to realise that "it" cannot refer to the bullet because bullets do not shatter when they strike windows and to re-parse the sentence with "it" referring to the object.

I really hope that is clear.

This is basic English. I'm not going to get bogged down in these rude, egotistical discussions in which so few people are intelligent enough to admit when they are wrong. I will say, however, that my original post was a step in the right direction. Quite frankly, I am unimpressed with the response.


I find climbing up onto one's high horse to be less than conducive to reasoned discussion.
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#75  Postby shh » Aug 27, 2010 1:08 am

Has anyone come across any other places where they felt "we need a new word here"? If so where? Either a word that needs replacing or just something that it'd be useful to have a word we don't currently have?
Robert Pirsig in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"tried to introduce "mu", from Japanese into English, as an answer to a yes or no question, where both yes and no are incorrect, or to reject the question itself rather than answer it.
So anything along those lines?
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#76  Postby Scott H » Aug 27, 2010 2:30 am

We might need a new word for cruelty. The word 'mean' reminds one of 'average' and thus majority rule, the word 'cruel' derives from the same root as 'crude' and thus alludes to the lower classes, the word 'sadist' tempts the wrongdoer with the superlative, and words like 'evil' and 'wicked' have their own problems.

All of these words make me want to say stupid instead of mean, though they ought to know very well that I'm drawing attention to their cruelty. This is, of course, estimating their intelligence to be so low that they would be influenced in cocky ways by the above-mentioned words, as stupid people tend to be.

So, I am caught between saying 'stupid,' in which case I risk hurting the feelings of the mentally handicapped, whom I serve for a living, and saying 'mean,' in which case my choice of words -- though correct -- could have some kind of psychological influence over those who are easily detracted from the path of kindness by the minor faults and failings of others.

An even worse nightmare is that this pitiful race has evolved a set of linguistic relationships over time that specifically target, debilitate, and humiliate the unattractive, giving the torturers a communicative edge over their deformed, helpless victims. In that case, the human race would be truly stupid, and in fact, much stupider than we had previously thought. It is going to have to take some kind of not-stupid-man to help them all realize that they're really just hurting conscious beings.
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#77  Postby Kazaman » Aug 27, 2010 2:35 am

Scott H wrote:We might need a new word for cruelty. The word 'mean' reminds one of 'average' and thus majority rule, the word 'cruel' derives from the same root as 'crude' and thus alludes to the lower classes, the word 'sadist' tempts the wrongdoer with the superlative, and words like 'evil' and 'wicked' have their own problems.

All of these words make me want to say stupid instead of mean, though they ought to know very well that I'm drawing attention to their cruelty. This is, of course, estimating their intelligence to be so low that they would be influenced in cocky ways by the above-mentioned words, as stupid people tend to be.

So, I am caught between saying 'stupid,' in which case I risk hurting the feelings of the mentally handicapped, whom I serve for a living, and saying 'mean,' in which case my choice of words -- though correct -- could have some kind of psychological influence over those who are easily detracted from the path of kindness by the minor faults and failings of others.

An even worse nightmare is that this pitiful race has evolved a set of linguistic relationships over time that specifically target, debilitate, and humiliate the unattractive, giving the torturers a communicative edge over their deformed, helpless victims. In that case, the human race would be truly stupid, and in fact, much stupider than we had previously thought. It is going to have to take some kind of not-stupid-man to help them all realize that they're really just hurting conscious beings.


Using "to be cruel" is perfectly fine. It isn't that cruel comes from crude, it is that crude and cruel have the same etymology from the Latin word crudus.
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#78  Postby katja z » Aug 27, 2010 6:26 am

shh wrote:Has anyone come across any other places where they felt "we need a new word here"? If so where?

About three times a day when I'm working. :grin: But then, I'm a translator. There are enough differences in how different languages conceptualise reality (let alone which reality they conceptualise) to make you want to throw your teacup through the window in frustration on a regular basis. Then you learn to work around these constraints and use each language on its own terms. It helps if you're willing to accept that what's correct or acceptable in a language at a given time is determined by usage (convention), not by how you personally feel it "should be". :dunno:
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#79  Postby GreyICE » Aug 27, 2010 6:35 am

Scott H wrote:*snip*


If thou werst but half as clever as thou thinks thou are, thou would find thineself twice as clever as thou really arst.
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Re: Invent your own androgynous personal pronouns!

#80  Postby katja z » Aug 27, 2010 6:47 am

Shouldn't it be "thinkest"? :scratch: :lol:
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