[Ads-l] Word of the Year 2015: singular "they"

Neal Whitman nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Sat Jan 9 15:30:18 UTC 2016


As I tweeted a few moments ago: 

#woty2016 Maybe a good time to put my 2010 @VisualThesaurus bit on singular "they" out there again: visualthesaurus.com/cm/dictionary/…


> On Jan 9, 2016, at 6:50 AM, Salikoko S. Mufwene <s-mufwene at UCHICAGO.EDU> wrote:
> 
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Salikoko S. Mufwene" <s-mufwene at UCHICAGO.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Word of the Year 2015: singular "they"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> Are we likely to see/hear "singular /they/" agree with the verb in the 
> same way as /he/ and /she/? Is the following construction likely to be 
> considered acceptable:
> 
> /I wonder whether there is a person here that claimed _they knowS_ the 
> answer.
> 
> /Or will "singular /they/" continue to be referentially singular but 
> syntactically plural?
> 
> Sali.
> 
>> On 1/9/2016 5:29 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>> Here's my writeup of the WOTY voting for Vocabulary.com:
>> 
>> http://www.vocabulary.com/articles/wordroutes/they-won-gender-neutral-pronoun-is-2015-word-of-the-year/
>> 
>> The selection is also receiving plenty of media coverage...
>> 
>> http://time.com/4173992/word-of-the-year-2015-they/
>> http://www.businessinsider.com/the-word-they-named-2015-word-of-the-year-2016-1
>> https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/08/donald-trump-may-win-this-years-word-of-the-year/
>> http://www.inc.com/chris-matyszczyk/the-new-word-of-the-year-is-going-to-upset-some-people.html
>> 
>> 
>>> On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 8:41 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> The Word of the Year for 2015 is "they" used as a gender-neutral
>>> singular pronoun. "They" was recognized by the society for its
>>> emerging use as a pronoun to refer to a known person, often as a
>>> conscious choice by someone rejecting the traditional gender binary of
>>> "he" and "she."
>>> 
>>> Read the press release:
>>> http://www.americandialect.org/2015-word-of-the-year-is-singular-they
>>> Shortcut to PDF: http://bit.ly/ADSWOTY15
>>> 
>>> --bgz
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> 
> -- 
> **********************************************************
> Salikoko S. Mufwene                    s-mufwene at uchicago.edu
> The Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics and the College
> Professor, Committee on Evolutionary Biology
> Professor, Committee on the Conceptual & Historical Studies of Science
> University of Chicago                  773-702-8531; FAX 773-834-0924
> Department of Linguistics
> 1115 East 58th Street
> Chicago, IL 60637, USA
> http://mufwene.uchicago.edu/
> **********************************************************
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