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Holmbo

Gender neutral pronouns

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It seems to me that the most commonly used gender neutral pronoun in English is They. I feel kinda uncomfortable about this term because it feels weird for me to use a plural pronoun for one person. I suppose that maybe native English speakers have a easier time with this since it's kinda an extension of using the same word for second person and fourth person. I just feel like all my childhood years of English classes crashes in my brain when I try to think of They as a single person. Am I being silly and should just gt used to it? I'd much rather prefer a third pronoun. I've seen some different exponentiations on that, like xe or e, but they all seem kinda clunky to me.

What is your preferred gender neutral pronoun (in English or other language)?

Also a disclaimer, I'm quite uninformed about this topic compared to many people, so feel free to ignore me if I add nothing interesting.

 

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I'm also not a native English speaker, and I seriously stumbled at ze/zir before I saw the use of "they" as singular pronoun. "they" in singular meaning seems so weird to me, I practically see my English teacher behind me saying "You failed and now must take remedial English". I would prefer ze/zir, not that clunky imho. But 'xe'  is a bit difficult to pronounce for a word that aspires to become very common. It also reminds me of Xenon, Xerox ... and Lucy Lawless. xD

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As a native English speaker, I frequently use "they" as a singular pronoun when referring to someone whose gender/pronouns I don't know (like if I have encountered them by label, for example "the teacher" etc.) or who I don't know well/at all (using she or he always seems more familiar to me, although that's just me... I know many people will disagree) in addition to using it as someone's pronouns.

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On 28/11/2017 at 8:41 PM, Holmbo said:

It seems to me that the most commonly used gender neutral pronoun in English is They. I feel kinda uncomfortable about this term because it feels weird for me to use a plural pronoun for one person. I suppose that maybe native English speakers have a easier time with this since it's kinda an extension of using the same word for second person and fourth person. I just feel like all my childhood years of English classes crashes in my brain when I try to think of They as a single person.


Some reference:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they
https://www.npr.org/2016/01/13/462906419/everyone-uses-singular-they-whether-they-realize-it-or-not
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/singular-nonbinary-they

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Native English speaker here. For some reason I always think of singular 'they' as having a location component. sort of like 'they (over there) wont like that'.

But fundamentally it is treated as a plural, like who says they is? it is they are. So it is not a clean gender neutral pronoun, in the sense you can't use find and replace to change it in a text and still have all the sentences as grammatical. I don't have a problem using it though. I use it quite a lot. 

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Singular 'they' is totally fine in English. Ignore the overzealous prescriptivists who say otherwise.

 

"I've just made a new friend from another country!"

"Oh really? Where are they from?"

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English is my first language and I really like they as a singular pronoun even though it does have plural origins. They has also been used singularly for a while although it’s mostly been used for anonymity instead of a personal pronoun. But it’s still used in the same way. As far as other singular gender neutral pronouns go at least in the English language they aren’t as commonly used as singular they is. Merriam-Webster dictionary has a cool article about the usage of singular they https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/singular-nonbinary-they (oh this article was already shared above)

I like being referred to as they because gender is very detached from that pronoun and since people generally are more familiar with it it’s easier for me to not get misgendered opposed to if I were to use neopronouns which only a few people have heard of and even fewer people know how to use them. But ya they isn’t entirely plural it’s used singularly too plus language changes overtime gay used to mean something else so did queer. So why can’t they be singular and used as a personal pronoun? On another note you is plural and singular yet we never hear people say “you is” it’s always “you are” they works in the same way. Another thing I’d like to add is that people use singular they pretty often like when you don’t know someone’s gender ex. “Someone called today.” Who were they?” That’s singular they, but the only time I really hear the “but it’s plural” argument is when it’s used as a personal pronoun for nonbinary people, so there’s that.

Sorry about the long post I’m just really passionate about singular they.

 

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