Amanda Babcock Furrow, On 01/09/2015 04:13:
> You guys do realize that people are already using things like ze/zir
> online, right?
Yes, in my case, telltale evidence being where I said "folk who actually use neologistic epicene pronouns use them just when the antecedent is specific".
> If epicene pronouns in English survive past the current wave of
> interest, the ones people are already using are far more likely to
> survive than ones conlangers helpfully try to come up with at this
> late date :)
I think you must have skipped the previous messages in the thread.
> Heck, I saw ze/zir in use on some forums back in 1994. (Didn't know
> anyone pronounced them zhe, though. Still not convinced about that.)
> And yeah, that also applies to singular-they used with a definite
> antecedent. I've seen that one used in conversation and (some online
> subsets of) fiction a lot, and I have to say it does actually create
> some confusion over whether the referent is singular or plural.
The same singular/plural ambiguity and confusion arises in 'standard' English with THEM and YOU. With YOU, the reflexive form is unambiguously singular or plural. With THEM, lects vary as to whether singular THEM's reflexive form is _themself_ or _themselves_.