Posted: Sep 15, 2019 5:48 pm
by Destroyer
I'm With Stupid wrote:
Thomas Eshuis wrote:
I'm With Stupid wrote:
kiore wrote:The singular 'they' has a very long history and is not a modern politically correct invention at all.
Good article on this from the OED: ... ular-they/

Yeah I've read that, but that's not actually the same usage at all. That's using 'they' to refer to an unspecified singular person, not a specified one. It seems to me that people are using one historical usage to claim that a completely different usage isn't new. So that's why I'm interested to know if anyone has an example of it that goes back further than the fairly recent usage.

How is it fundamentally different? It's the same principle: using they for a singular person. What does it matter if that person is identified or not?

It matters in the same way that "a chair" is different from "the chair." It's a linguistically distinct usage.


Language has one purpose: to convey meaning! It matters not, whether I use the word turkey, when what I am actually referring to is a dog. All that matters is that the recipient of language grasps the exact meaning of its usage. If certain humans feel themselves to be gender neutral, and consider that languages, in general, have a tendency to misrerepresent their individuality, then, clearly, the solution is not to bring about ambiguity and confusion by using language that generally conveys a specific meaning, when what is now intended is to convey something totally different. The solution is clearly not 'they' when referring to specified individuality - this can only lead to ambiguity and confusion. The solution is to accept that language is not about individuality or gender, but the conveyance of meaning in a social context.