Vancouver school-board adds genderless pronoun


#1

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#2

"Fireman" is deprecated? I still use it, as well as steward/stewardess, waiter/waitress, actor/actress, mailman, chairman, and all sorts of these gendered nouns.


#3

Could someone explain the reasoning behind alternatives to 'they', 'them', and 'their'? Those are already effectively neuter.


#4

The preferred term is "firefighter", although I have no problem with calling a male firefighter a "fireman" and a female firefighter a "firewoman".

Sadly "aviatrix" has gone away.


#5

I think I'll keep using dude, dude and dudes for all humans.


#6

Yes, I notice that people are already commonly using "they/them/their" even for singular to create a gender-neutral or gender-unspecified pronoun.

Another problem with "xe" is that the Vancouver area has a large ethnic Chinese population. When Chinese is written in Latin characters, the "sh" sound is written as "x". I know a Chinese woman named Xi, pronounced "she". They will see "xe" and pronounce it as "she" as well.

We don't have the equivalent of the Academie Francaise. Language changes arise organically, they can't be imposed. Instead, the Vancouver school board should tell teachers to stop correcting students for using "they" as singular when the clear intent is to avoid writing he/she, "he or she", or "he" to refer to any person.


#7

Be cause prescriptivists insist that "they" is plural.

Anyway, my mid-90s era Politically-Correct-to-English dictionary lists "co" as the preferred gender free English pronoun. Anyway, these pronouns aren't exactly genderless as much as transgendered. No one is intending -- nor expecting -- the cisgendered to start referring "xemselves" as "xe". This is for transgendered people who do not want to use either preëxisting pronoun.


#8

Zee Germans are coming!

Isn't it likely this fails because there's always two types of people in any differentiated class:
1. he/she who wants to be just like everyone else
2. xe/xem/xyr who want to be different than that class

And these arguments always rage because/inbetween in-groups and out-groups, when scaled up to cultural significance become xenophobic due to natural human tendencies?

Wait..what were we discussing?


#9

Aviatrix always struck me as a bit too close to dominatrix for use in polite company.


#11

I always thought "comedienne" was stupid.


#12

I've always loved the word.


#13

Exactly, this is why prescriptivism, no matter how well-intentioned it may be, makes no sense from a linguistic perspective. I've always found these language modification campaigns to be misguided, at best.


#14

Australian science fiction author Greg Egan has multiple books with non-gendered characters in them. He uses: ver, ve and vis:

Him/Her/Ver
He/She/Ve
His/Hers/Vis


#15

The prescriptivists are several hundred years out of date (OED): "2 [ singular ] used to refer to a person of unspecified sex" since at least the 16th century.

But he're a prescription for Cory: trasgender not transgendered, just like not lesbianed, blacked, or boyed.


#16

There are countries out there who have to deal with languages which feature entire systems of gender behind their words. I wonder if they see anything like this level of arguing over gendered language.


#17

Aviatrix is an awesome word, and I still think Amy Johnson should have gone on the new £10 note instead of Jane Austen.


#18

I was going to point out that Xe is what Blackwater renamed themselves (which they did), but apparently they changed their name to Academi in 2011.

I'm just going to stick with they.


#19

This ^^^

Singular they was in use for hundreds of years before it became fashionable for the singular/plural agreement to be more important than avoidance of gender disagreement in the 19th century.

There isn't so much a need to invent a new, genderless pronoun, as to recognize that we had a perfectly good one all along, that was simply unfashionable for about a century.


#20

/me lifts a glass to offer a toast

To all the aviatrices who were pioneers not only in aviation, but for the cause of gender equality.


#21

"Firefighter" is a better name for the job they do anyway. They fight fires. A "fireman" is just a man who has something to do with fire, and used to be applied to many jobs (such as shoveling coal into a train engine). So the reason the change has been so successful goes beyond gender neutrality.