Gender and gender-neutral

(K. Brent Tomer),

COPY editors are opinionated. Whether titles of books should be in italics or in inverted commas can divide them more decidedly than the Sharks and the Jets. So at a recent meeting of the American Copy Editors Society, the “Chicago Manual of Style” and the Associated Press (AP) stylebook, both widely followed, announced a change that sent waves through the audience. In AP’s wording, “They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and-or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy.”

English lacks an uncontroversial pronoun that lets you talk about a person of a generic or unknown gender—known as an “epicene” pronoun, from the Greek for “common to all” (genders). Some would say that “each president chooses his own cabinet” is epicene—but psychological research proves that the his calls to mind a man. (If you truly believe his is gender-neutral, try “Steve, Sally, Mary and Jane each had his hair cut today.”)

Other languages face the problem in different guises. In French the possessives son, <em…Continue reading

via K. Brent Tomer CFTC Gender and gender-neutral

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s