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English's pronoun problem is centuries old

Language works as a dynamic democracy, not as rule by experts.


Joe Moran | NYT 

“Pronouns are suddenly sexy,” Dennis Baron declares at the start of What’s Your Pronoun? For “pronouns,” read one specific pronoun, or rather its long-lamented absence in English: The third-person singular gender-neutral pronoun. And for “sexy,” read thorny. Pronouns now come up in lawsuits, school regulations and company codes of conduct. Colleges ask students to provide their preferred pronouns; online dating sites offer pronoun options. “It used to be nerdy to discuss parts of speech outside of grammar class,” Baron, a professor ...

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First Published: Thu, January 23 2020. 23:50 IST