[Ads-l] The gender-neutral pronoun thon was word of the year for 1884

Baron, Dennis E debaron at ILLINOIS.EDU
Fri Jan 5 19:13:24 UTC 2018

New post on the Web of Language:

The gender-neutral pronoun thon was word of the year for 1884

Gender-neutral pronouns have been in the news recently. Last Fall, a trans teacher in a Florida school was removed from their classroom for asking students to refer to them with the gender-neutral title Mx and the singular they. Two years earlier, when the Diversity Office at the University of Tennessee suggested that teachers make sure all students felt included by asking them, “What’s your pronoun?”, the state legislature closed the Diversity Office and banned the use of tax dollars to pay for gender-neutral pronouns.

It’s only fitting then to remember that the gender-neutral pronoun thon was Word of the Year in 1884. Or it would have been, had we been picking words of the year back then. 1884 was the year that Charles C. Converse announced that he had coined thon, a gender-neutral pronoun, by blending that and one. Thoncould refer both to men and women, and it would come in handy in cases where gender is unknown, or irrelevant, or where it needs to be concealed (C. C. Converse, “A New Pronoun.” The Critic, Aug. 2, 1884, p. 55).

read the full post here: https://blogs.illinois.edu/view/25/597154

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

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