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I wonder why a person should even have any say in which pronoun is used to
refer to him. Since it's 3rd person, he's neither the speaker nor the
audience/listener. He's not part of the conversation.

stevo

On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 9:40 AM, Mark J. Reed <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Yeah, the particular spellings and pronunciations given are strange to me.
> I've seen lots of variants, though it seems like the simpler and more
> phonetic, the more likely to catch on.
>
> In any case, there are two distinct problems being conflated here.
>
> 1. We need a set of pronouns to use to refer to someone who doesn't
> identify with either "he" or "she" for whatever reason. There could be
> multiple such sets and the choice left up to the antecedent zirself, but
> that just makes the second problem worse. This is where the neologic sets
> are most likely to come in, IMO.
>
> 2. We need a set of pronouns to use when we simply don't know what gender
> or pronoun set the antecedent identifies with. This is where an expanded
> singular "they" is likely to win out - again IMO.
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> > On Aug 31, 2015, at 23:13, Amanda Babcock Furrow <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >
> > You guys do realize that people are already using things like ze/zir
> > online, right?  Those weren't made up this year by UK and they're not
> > being applied prescriptively.  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 :)
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > tylakèhlpë'fö,
> > Amanda
> >
> >> On Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 11:10:51PM +0100, And Rosta wrote:
> >> Jeffrey Brown, On 31/08/2015 21:06:
> >>> "Pat's roommate is coming. They have their own shoes."
> >>>
> >>> This sounds odd to my ear. I'm not sure the best gender-free way to put
> >>> this, assuming I don't know the sex of the roommate, without totally
> >>> rephrasing it:  "Pat's roommate is coming with a pair of shoes" ...?
> >>
> >> I presume you'd be okay with "If I get a new roommate, they must have
> their own shoes". So probably what you find weird is the use of THEM with a
> singular specific antecedent even if of unknown gender. So, say, "G. M.
> Kelly of Bishops Stortford writes in to say that they have today heard the
> first cuckoo of the year" seems odd too? There may well be interlectal
> differences on the acceptability of such utterances. If I understand
> correctly (from a brief but enthusiastic bout of googling), folk who
> actually use neologistic epicene pronouns use them just when the antecedent
> is specific. (I wasn't able to find arguments in favour of neologistic
> epicene pronouns over THEM, or any such arguments constructed by anybody
> with a decent understanding of English linguistics; my casual impression is
> that the disfavouring of THEM is due partly to prescriptivism and partly to
> seeking more salient markers of group identity.)
> >>
> >> Returning to my Q2 -- hypothetical alternatives to THEM -- I think
> _thun/thon_ (with STRUT or LOT, and weakform /D@n/, perhaps even
> developing a /@n/ variant via th-dropping) is hard to beat; it could
> semiplausibly originate as a contraction of _the one_, for _the_, like
> personal pronouns, can be bound by an antecedent (e.g. as in "Bob's invited
> me to DINner, but I can't STAND the fucker"). So: "Bob's invited me to
> DINner but I can't STAND the one" >>> "Bob's invited me to DINner but I
> can't STAND thun". Allowing variant _thon_ with LOT makes the etymology
> work for those who have LOT in _one_, but creates an annoying clash with
> demonstrative _thon_.
> >>
> >> --And.
>