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I'm not sure 's/he' is really an abbreviation of 'she or he' (or 'he 
or she').  It seems to me more like a convenient shorthand (but 
unfortunately unpronounceable) way of supplying English with a non-
gender-specific third-person-singular personal pronoun, which it 
lacks.  If you wanted to translate it into French or German, say, 
you'd have to lose the elision and make 
it 'il/elle', 'elle/il', 'er/sie' or 'sie/er'.  The question has 
elicited a lot of interesting conceptual debate, but I've been 
wondering throughout what practical reason there could possibly be for 
marking up such usages at all.  Why not just 
treat 's/he', 'media/tion' and 'car(s)' as words in their own right?

John

Quoting Ralph Cleminson <[log in to unmask]>:

> So do I -- up to a point.  That is, while "s/he" is, in practice,
> short
> for "he or she" (leaving aside the question of whether the writer
> wrote
> the former in order to avoid writing the latter), my impression is
> that
> "media/tion" may be used not to mean "media or mediation" but in
> order
> to convey a concept that partakes of both but is neither.  In such a
> case it is neither regularisable nor expandable, and the only thing
> to
> do is to leave it as it is.
> -- 
> 
> R.M.Cleminson, M.A., D.Phil.,
> Professor of Slavonic Studies,
> University of Portsmouth,
> Park Building,
> King Henry I Street,
> Portsmouth PO1 2DZ
> tel. +44 23 92 846143, fax: +44 23 92 846040
> 
> 
> >>> On 10/01/2008 at 15:58, in message
> <[log in to unmask]>, Lou
> Burnard <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Yes, I agree!
> > 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: "James Cummings" <[log in to unmask]>
> > To: [log in to unmask] 
> > Sent: 10/01/08 05:50
> > Subject: Re: SV: s/he media/tion car(s)
> > 
> > Matthew James Driscoll wrote:
> >> I think <orig> and <reg>, definitely, rather than <app> and
> <rdg>,
> but 
> >> shouldnt it rather be:
> >> 
> >> <choice>
> >>   <orig>s/he</orig>
> >>   <reg>he or she</reg>
> >> </choice>?
> >> 
> >> (He or she sounds more natural, to my ear, than she or he, and Mr
> 
> >> Google seems to confirm that I am not alone in this, although
> many
> of 
> >> the first hits were discussions of whether one should be allowed
> to
> use 
> >> such a formulation.)
> >> 
> >> One /could/, of course, argue that s/he is an abbreviation (for
> he
> or 
> >> she, or, if you insist, she or he) and use <abbr> and <expan>.
> This
> 
> >> applies equally, if less obviously, to the others, too, I should
> have 
> >> thought.
> > 
> > This is exactly what I was going to argue.  I think it fits in
> best
> with 
> > Wendell's division of simple vs complex notation.  The string
> 's/he'
> in the 
> > english language is not a word.  Nor do I believe it is truly
> offering me a 
> > choice between substituting she or he at this point.  Whenever
> anyone
> reads 
> > this aloud they'll say something like 'she he' or 'he she' or 'he
> or
> she' 
> > rather than simply substituting a random choice of one or the
> other.
> > 
> > In my mind at a very basic level this is:
> >   <choice>
> >     <abbr>s/he</abbr>
> >     <expan>she or he</expan>
> >   </choice>
> > 
> > Or maybe something like:
> > <choice>
> >    <abbr>s<am>/</am>he</abbr>
> >    <expan>s<ex>he or </ex>he</expan>
> > </choice>
> > 
> > I much prefer this to orig/reg.  What form of regularisation is it
> to
> take 
> > something with less letters and funny characters and expand this
> into
> plain 
> > normal english words with spaces between them?  Sounds to me like 
> > abbr/expan.
> > 
> > -James
>