Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Modest Proposal on Gender in Language

There are all sorts of half-baked proposals to develop a new set of "gender-neutral" pronouns and other relevant gendered words (co, zie, jhe, te, hir, che, and many more). However, most of them are generally silly-sounding words, and all of them have a very high barrier to start being used.

How about this approach:
Step 1) "She" ("her", etc.) is the new gender-neutral pronoun, as well as referring to females. "He" refers specifically to males.
Step 2) "She" ("her", etc.) is the pronoun used to refer to anyone, either male, female, or of indeterminate gender. "He" is abandoned as an abandoned linguistic relic.

This has the advantage that even if someone thinks you sound weird, she will still understand what you are saying. It should also provide a jumping point for a single neutral pronoun that using "he" for just won't work.

No comments:

Post a Comment