WASHINGTON — What happens when 334 linguists, lexicographers, grammarians and etymologists gather in a stuffy lecture hall on a Friday night to debate the lexical trends of the year? They become the unlikely heroes of the new gender revolution.
That’s what happened here earlier this month anyway, at a downtown Marriott, where members of the 127-year-old American Dialect Society anointed “they,” the singular, gender-neutral pronoun, the 2015 Word of the Year. As in: “They and I went to the store,” where they is used for a person who does not identify as male or female, or they is a filler pronoun in a situation where a person’s gender identity is unknown.
“Function words don’t get enough love,” a man argued from the floor. (Function words, I would later learn, are words that have little lexical meaning but serve to connect other words — or “the basic building blocks in language,” according to Ben Zimmer, the event’s M.C.)
“We need to accept ‘they,’ and we need to do it now,” shouted another linguist, hidden behind the crowds.
“As a gender neutral pronoun, ‘they’ has been useful for a long time,” said Anne Curzan, an English professor at the University of Michigan. ( “They” can be found in the works of literary greats like Chaucer and Jane Austen.) “But I think we’ve seen a lot of attention this year to people who are identifying out of the gender binary.”
Gender binary: That’s the idea that there are two distinct genders, one male and one female, with nothing in between.
But to Ms. Curzan’s point: Indeed. If we’ve learned anything over the last year, from vocal transgender spokespeople like Caitlin Jenner and Laverne Cox; from on-screen depictions like “Transparent,” the Emmy-winning Amazon series about a family patriarch who comes out as transgender; or even from Miley Cyrus — who has said she identifies as “pansexual,” or sexually fluid — it’s that both sexuality (whom you go to bed with) and gender (who you go to bed as) are much more … flexible.
“I think we, and particularly young people, increasingly view gender not as a given, but as a choice, not as a distinction between male and female, but as a spectrum, regardless of what’s ‘down there,’” said Julie Mencher, a psychotherapist in Northampton, Mass., who conducts school workshops on how to support transgender students. “Many claim that gender doesn’t even exist.”
“Transparent” has helped illustrate the topic of language in relation to sexuality and gender.Credit Jennifer Clasen/Amazon Studios
It does exist when it comes to language, though. He, she, hers, his, male, female — there’s not much in between. And so has emerged a new vocabulary, of sorts: an attempt to solve the challenge of talking about someone who identifies as neither male nor female (and, inevitably, the linguistic confusion that comes along with it).
These days, on college campuses, stating a gender pronoun has become practically as routine as listing a major. “So it’s like: ‘Hi, I’m Evie. My pronouns are she/her/hers. My major is X,’” said Evie Zavidow, a junior at Barnard.
“Ze” is a pronoun of choice for the student newspaper at Wesleyan, while “E” is one of the categories offered to new students registering at Harvard.
At American University, there is ”ey,” one of a number of pronoun options published in a guide for students (along with information about how to ask which one to use).
There’s also “hir,” “xe” and “hen,” which has been adopted by Sweden (a joining of the masculine han and the feminine hon); “ve,” and “ne,” and “per,” for person, “thon,” (a blend of “that” and “one”); and the honorific “Mx.” (pronounced “mix”) — an alternative to Ms. and Mr. that was recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary. (The “x” in Mx. is meant to represent an unknown, similar to the use of x in algebraic equations.)https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/31/fashion/pronoun-confusion-sexual...
What's also weird is how the language overall is disintegrating.
People are now calling themself, "Myself", and not in the proper use. Such as:
"Myself and John went to the store."
Myself and my buddies went wherever."
People can no longer make subject and verb compatible, and I thought I learned that in 3rd grade. Another post cited a fact that IQ has dropped 17 points in the last century, clearly indicating we are getting dumber and dumber, which explains the rise of the damrats success in use of propaganda.
Winning! Kroger Announces 11,000 New Jobs, Increased Wages, Education Benefits Thanks To TRUMP Tax Cuts
Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen announced Monday that the Republican’s tax cut has allowed the company to raise wages and invest in its employees.
McMullen made the announcement on CNBC on Monday.
Democrats promise to take these tax cuts and benefits away if they take over Congress.
ARMAGEDDON UPDATE: Major Ohio-based grocery chain announces 11,000 new jobs, $500 million in increased wages/benefits to workers & a substantial charitable investment, thanks to tax reform -- which Democrats would like to repeal.
Kroger sweetens employee benefits as it moves to ramp up hiring
The grocer plans to invest in education, wages and retirement benefits, saying tax law changes helped fund these efforts.
For the record… Every Democrat voted NO to the Trump tax cuts.