[Ads-l] Updated list of nonbinary pronouns / singular they

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Dec 24 16:15:37 UTC 2015


In support of Dennis's advocacy for the WOTY candidacy of once and future singular "they", note how in this 

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/12/14/dolls-and-feelings <http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/12/14/dolls-and-feelings>

recent piece in The New Yorker, pronouns come into play (or come in, to play):

If the point of this kind of identity transition is to reconcile the way the world sees you with the way you see yourself, the details of perception and representation become crucial. “A really interesting thought exercise is to say ‘they’ and ‘them’ for all genders,” Soloway instructed me. I was confused, so she explained. “If you said, ‘I have to go pick up my friend at the airport,’ I could very easily say, ‘What time do they get here?’ So there is a structure for talking about your friend and not knowing their gender—and it’s perfect English.”

I pointed out that strict grammar forbids using a plural pronoun for a single person; it would sound crazy, for instance, to describe Soloway by saying, “They are my favorite director.”

Soloway shook her head vigorously. “All of the magazines and newspapers need to begin to do this,” she said. “The language is evolving daily—even gender reassignment, people are now calling it gender confirmation!” She was getting excited. “The promise of this revolution is not having to say, ‘Men do this, women do this.’ ”

LH


> On Dec 24, 2015, at 10:36 AM, Baron, Dennis E <debaron at ILLINOIS.EDU> wrote:
> 
> Taking advantage of new digitized periodicals, I have updated my often-consulted online list of common gender, epicene, nonbinary, indeterminate pronouns, adding a lot of early, hitorical material with: comments on singular they (for and against) and calls for a new pronoun, going back to 1792, and new 19th-century coinages I hadn’t found before. Given the early discussions I’ve found (not just obscure sources, but even Samuel Taylor Coleridge talked about the need for a common gender pronoun), it’s likely that more will surface, and earlier sources will emerge.
> 
> Comments, updates, and corrections will be appreciated.
> 
> You can read the list here:
> 
> 
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__bit.ly_1Z5vtys&d=AwIGaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=1Wp_Jjjs5tyj2rq0yM6atU5U34UXhAzmEGix35R1nTs&s=w432U2LyIvSKlcKt6VMHWh_eQoFwpZ-gx3xwbt7t7fc&e= 
> 
> full url: https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.english.illinois.edu_-2Dpeople-2D_faculty_debaron_essays_epicene.htm&d=AwIGaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=1Wp_Jjjs5tyj2rq0yM6atU5U34UXhAzmEGix35R1nTs&s=Cb24YdMWC9xpFjGSDVsDsCdXDMeJvVhNHPeL37gd_Y0&e= 
> 
> (And I apologize in advance for inconsitent fonts - an artifact of converting a long .docx to html. I will correct this when I have a chance.)
> 
> Best,
> 
> Dennis
> 
> 
> Dennis Baron
> Professor of English and Linguistics
> Department of English
> University of Illinois
> 608 S. Wright St.
> Urbana, IL 61801
> 
> English Dept: 217-333-2390
> fax: 217-333-4321
> 
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.illinois.edu_goto_debaron&d=AwIGaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=1Wp_Jjjs5tyj2rq0yM6atU5U34UXhAzmEGix35R1nTs&s=VAY6MK5kkEWh9hVLLnDLcZ4DfGGStASvOM-bgZ2ZwT4&e= <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__illinois.edu_goto_debaron&d=AwIGaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=1Wp_Jjjs5tyj2rq0yM6atU5U34UXhAzmEGix35R1nTs&s=MJ5Ux4rlDrn_bkSuVak69urzLLMFuUq-oiHRYI-CwwU&e= >
> 
> read the Web of Language:
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__illinois.edu_blog_view_25&d=AwIGaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=1Wp_Jjjs5tyj2rq0yM6atU5U34UXhAzmEGix35R1nTs&s=WRF_9nnGwbUPueGR0mVk2OoWPFnBlNjnWGqKjQcy5rc&e= 
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> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=AwIGaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=1Wp_Jjjs5tyj2rq0yM6atU5U34UXhAzmEGix35R1nTs&s=FpBM1iLoiiPeldb79YnvXGQEDdL6JMCaV8QHkePfVxE&e= 


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