[Ads-l] Should ze be in the dictionary?

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Thu Oct 20 11:56:53 EDT 2016

On Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 11:49:24AM -0400, Laurence Horn wrote:
> > On Oct 20, 2016, at 11:05 AM, MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY RDECOM AMRDEC (US) <william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL> wrote:
> > 
> > 
> >> 
> >> Not everybody likes these invented pronouns, but a lot of people are using them. 
> > 
> > Is this a true statement -- are, in fact, "a lot of people" using these pronouns?  I see a lot of people saying "these are substitute pronouns which may be used and which you should accept", but I've never met anyone who wished to be referred to as "ze", et al.  (admittedly, I don't run in circles where this discussion ever comes up).
> There are definitely individuals (e.g. Yale undergraduates) who have expressed a preference for "they" as their personal pronoun (to coin a phrase), but I don't know if that's part of the "al."  Haven't encountered any who have opted for "ze", "co", "e", or other "words that failed" as Dennis B. used to call them.

I know several people who prefer to use "ze" or other "coined" epicene pronouns for self-reference, and quite a number who use these esp in cases of referring to an indeterminate antecedent. I don't know that this rises quite to the level of "a lot", but it's certainly out there.

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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