1. In English, explicit grammatical gender is chiefly confined to the third-person singular personal pronouns, he, she, it, his, hers, its, etc. From earliest times until about the 1960s it was unquestionably acceptable to use the pronoun he (and him, himself, his) with indefinite reference to denote a person of either sex, especially after indefinite pronouns and determiners such as anybody, anyone, each, every, etc., after gender-neutral nouns such as person, individual, and speaker, and in fixed expressions such as every man for himself and one man one vote. The feminist movement has greatly intensified sensitivities in this area, and alternative devices often have to be found. When a gender-neutral pronoun or determiner (i.e. one that is free of grammatical gender) is needed, the options usually adopted are he or she (or his or her, etc.), or the plural forms they, their, themselves, etc.:

• Each client should take the advice of their estate agent, who will take into account the style of the property, [etc.] —Real Property Guide (Edinburgh), 1995

• Anyone who involves themselves in such issues does so for their own salvation —Big Issue, 1998.

This use of plural pronouns is not new, but a revival of a practice dating from the 16c and common in 19c literature

• (Whenever a person says to you that they are as innocent as can be in all concerning money, look well after your own money, for they are dead certain to collar it, if they can —Dickens, 1853).

Insistence on differentiation can lead to awkwardness in a sentence in which the problem recurs, typically causing the writer to resort finally to convenience at the expense of inconsistency:

• I cannot urge this bargain version too strongly on anyone who loves this work, even if he or she already has another performance in their collection —Gramophone, 1995.

There is also a danger that plurality will run away with the sentence: ☒

• Ultimately someone will lose their lives over this —Edinburgh Herald & Post, 2002.

An alternative strategy is to rephrase the sentence, for example by couching the whole thing in the plural; by this device the last example but one above becomes…on all those who love this work, even if they already have another performance in their collection, although the loss of singular focus can sometimes blur the sense.
2. Artificial devices, including the use of composite forms such as s/he, hesh, wself, etc., have not found general currency, partly because they are difficult to articulate and are only possible in writing. A reflexive pronoun themself is occasionally found and is likely to become more common, but at present it is non-standard:

• It is not an actor pretending to be Reagan or Thatcher, it is, in grotesque form, the person themself —I. Hislop, 1984

• Someone in a neutral mood can devote themself solely to problem solving —Independent, 1995.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gender neutrality in English — is a form of linguistic prescriptivism that aims at using a form of English that minimizes assumptions about the gender or biological sex of people referred to in speech. Contents 1 Rationale 1.1 Job titles 1.2 Words for humans …   Wikipedia

  • Gender-neutrality in languages with grammatical gender — implies promoting language usage which is balanced in its treatment of the genders. For example, advocates of gender neutral language challenge the traditional use of masculine nouns and pronouns ( man , businessman , he , and so on) when… …   Wikipedia

  • Gender-neutrality in genderless languages — is typically achieved by using gender inclusive words ( human being , person , businessperson , and so on) instead of gender specific ones ( man , he , businessman , etc.) when one speaks of people whose gender is unknown, ambiguous, or… …   Wikipedia

  • Gender-neutral language — Gender neutral language, gender inclusive language, inclusive language, or gender neutrality is linguistic prescriptivism that aims to eliminate (or neutralize) reference to gender in terms that describe people. For example, the words chairman,… …   Wikipedia

  • Gender-neutral pronoun — Hir redirects here. For other uses, see Hir (disambiguation). A gender neutral pronoun is a pronoun that is not associated with any gender. It designates two distinct grammatical phenomena, the first being pronouns/periphrastics that have been… …   Wikipedia

  • Gender-specific pronoun — A language has gender specific pronouns when personal pronouns have different forms according to the gender of their referents.The English language has three gender specific pronouns in the 3rd. person singular, whose declined forms are also… …   Wikipedia

  • Gender-neutral — The adjective gender neutral may describe:*Gender neutral job title *Gender neutral language (see also gender neutrality in English) *Gender neutral marriage *Gender neutral pronoun *Gender neutral bathroomsIt is sometimes confused with the… …   Wikipedia

  • Gender in Bible translation — Gender and Bible translation have been the subject of debate for the last two or three decades.Fact|date=July 2008 Few disagreements surround the gender of God in translation, most attention has been given to gendered terms referring to humankind …   Wikipedia

  • Gender — This article is about the distinction between male and female entities and concepts. For other uses, see Gender (disambiguation). Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men …   Wikipedia

  • neutrality — neutral ► ADJECTIVE 1) impartial or unbiased. 2) having no strongly marked characteristics. 3) Chemistry neither acid nor alkaline; having a pH of about 7. 4) electrically neither positive nor negative. ► NOUN 1) an impartial or unbiased state or …   English terms dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”