Author Topic: Episode #700  (Read 25692 times)

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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #210 on: December 30, 2018, 01:44:49 PM »

Disadvantages of using the singular they:

1.  Offending individuals who want their gender identified.

As evidenced by the swarms of single-gender groups calling for the new words "hims" and "hers", and insisting "they" only be used for mixed groups.

Now you’re being silly.  English is relatively non-gendered, and it’s becoming more non-gendered.  Professions and occupations such as actress, authoress and manageress have virtually disappeared from the language, with actor, author and manager doing the job perfectly well.  A person’s gender shouldn’t affect the ability to do the job.

But it’s stupid thinking that ‘John Smith can do it, if they try’ is better than ‘John Smith can do it, if he tries.’  Or don’t you?

They is a perfect inclusive pronoun.
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Online CarbShark

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Episode #700
« Reply #211 on: December 30, 2018, 02:04:35 PM »
And once again people who disagree with you are stupid.

That includes dictionaries, style guides and grammar guides. Stupid stupid and stupid.

There is no doubt using they in this way is acceptable now. It’s your own personal preference, and you’re free to not use they that way. But it’s wrong to impose your out dated preference on others and wronger to question the intelligence of those who disagree with you.


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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #212 on: December 30, 2018, 03:28:56 PM »
And once again people who disagree with you are stupid.

That includes dictionaries, style guides and grammar guides. Stupid stupid and stupid.

There is no doubt using they in this way is acceptable now. It’s your own personal preference, and you’re free to not use they that way. But it’s wrong to impose your out dated preference on others and wronger to question the intelligence of those who disagree with you.


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Do you really think ‘John Smith can do it, if they try’ is acceptable, let alone make any sense?  Really?
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #213 on: December 30, 2018, 03:39:50 PM »
Did you read my post before responding? I did ask a question.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #214 on: December 30, 2018, 03:58:13 PM »
Did you read my post before responding? I did ask a question.

I did read your post, and I’m not mischaracterising your position.  You believe it’s acceptable to write ’John Smith can do it, if they try, unless you’ve written to him/her/them asking him/her/them which pronoun he/she/they prefers in case he/she/they prefers a different pronoun for himself/herself/themself.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #215 on: December 30, 2018, 05:05:10 PM »
I'm not going to discuss that since you are literally not reasonable.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #216 on: December 30, 2018, 06:08:45 PM »
I'm not going to discuss that since you are literally not reasonable.

Why do you think it’s literally not reasonable?  Do you regard it reasonable to write ‘John Smith can do it, if they try?’

I wonder if I should write ‘Robert Galbraith is a very good writer, and I enjoy their Cormoron Strike novels very much,’ despite knowing that it’s a pen name of Joanne K Rowling, and that she had wanted to write ‘adult’ novels to be judged separately to her Harry Potter novels, which were also written under a pen name JK Rowling under the belief that boys wouldn’t read books by a female author?

Should I write to her and ask her whether she wants to be referred to as ‘they.’  I doubt that she’d be interested or concerned.  Nor am I.  I just hope she’s got a new novel coming out next year.
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Offline stands2reason

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #217 on: December 30, 2018, 06:34:23 PM »
Benefits of using a singular they:
1) Avoiding offending individuals by misgendering them.
2) Avoiding bias in sentences like "In 2020, the President will rely on advice from their chief of staff when making this decision". In this case, it is important to refer to a singular individual and not specify a gender.
3) Discouraging the false idea that gender is a dichotomy.
4) Preventing the awkward and pointless work of rewording sentences to use plural instead of singular nouns.
5) Not having to decide what "readily ascertainable gender" means.

Costs of using a singular they:
1) Bachfiend says that singular they is "unacceptable".
2) The use of singular they was discouraged in the past. Language, like other aspects of culture (including fashion and etiquette), is static and unchanging, so the use of singular they can never be "correct".

Disadvantages of using the singular they:

1.  Offending individuals who want their gender identified.

2.  Making predictions which are impossible to make.

3.  Promoting the fiction that someone can be half male and half female.  A hermaphdite.

4.  Avoiding the appropriate use of plural nouns when it’s the best formulation.

5.  Avoiding bothering finding out something regarding the person one is commenting about.

I don’t oppose all uses of the singular they.  It does have its place.  Just not in cases with single specified persons with readily ascertainable gender.


Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #218 on: December 30, 2018, 06:39:28 PM »
Benefits of using a singular they:
1) Avoiding offending individuals by misgendering them.
2) Avoiding bias in sentences like "In 2020, the President will rely on advice from their chief of staff when making this decision". In this case, it is important to refer to a singular individual and not specify a gender.
3) Discouraging the false idea that gender is a dichotomy.
4) Preventing the awkward and pointless work of rewording sentences to use plural instead of singular nouns.
5) Not having to decide what "readily ascertainable gender" means.

Costs of using a singular they:
1) Bachfiend says that singular they is "unacceptable".
2) The use of singular they was discouraged in the past. Language, like other aspects of culture (including fashion and etiquette), is static and unchanging, so the use of singular they can never be "correct".

Disadvantages of using the singular they:

1.  Offending individuals who want their gender identified.

2.  Making predictions which are impossible to make.

3.  Promoting the fiction that someone can be half male and half female.  A hermaphdite.

4.  Avoiding the appropriate use of plural nouns when it’s the best formulation.

5.  Avoiding bothering finding out something regarding the person one is commenting about.

I don’t oppose all uses of the singular they.  It does have its place.  Just not in cases with single specified persons with readily ascertainable gender.



And your point?

It seems that the defenders of the singular they being applied to a single specified person of readily ascertainable gender are getting desperate in trying to defend the indefensible.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #219 on: December 30, 2018, 08:10:39 PM »
It’s not something that can or should be defended. There’s no logic involved because languages do not function on logic. It’s just how the word is used today. It saddens me that it’s used this way. But one just accepts it and moves on. It’s a fait accompli.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #220 on: December 30, 2018, 08:28:54 PM »
It’s not something that can or should be defended. There’s no logic involved because languages do not function on logic. It’s just how the word is used today. It saddens me that it’s used this way. But one just accepts it and moves on. It’s a fait accompli.

No, it’s not a fait accompli.  There’s still a lot of resistance to the singular they, in particular the singular they applied to single specified persons of readily identified gender.

Admittedly, English isn’t a particularly logical language - the pronounciation and spelling of words in particular (and the differences between British spelling and American spelling eg defence versus defense).  German is much more logical, despite its noun genders and the accompanying 3rd person pronouns which often bear no relationship to the gender of persons.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #221 on: December 30, 2018, 08:59:36 PM »
I'm not going to discuss that since you are literally not reasonable.

Why do you think it’s literally not reasonable?  Do you regard it reasonable to write ‘John Smith can do it, if they try?’

I wonder if I should write ‘Robert Galbraith is a very good writer, and I enjoy their Cormoron Strike novels very much,’ despite knowing that it’s a pen name of Joanne K Rowling, and that she had wanted to write ‘adult’ novels to be judged separately to her Harry Potter novels, which were also written under a pen name JK Rowling under the belief that boys wouldn’t read books by a female author?

Should I write to her and ask her whether she wants to be referred to as ‘they.’  I doubt that she’d be interested or concerned.  Nor am I.  I just hope she’s got a new novel coming out next year.

No no. I didn't say the "they" stuff is not reasonable. There are quite a few meaningful arguments to be made about it on both sides. You're not making those arguments though.You are saying you are right, those who don't agree with you are various versions of stupid, and mischaracterizing their positions.

What I said was that you are not reasonable. Specifically, in this matter, your position is not subject to change via reason or evidence. You don't appear to be willing to talk about why you believe what you believe, so there isn't a lot to talk about.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #222 on: December 31, 2018, 12:31:49 AM »
I'm not going to discuss that since you are literally not reasonable.

Why do you think it’s literally not reasonable?  Do you regard it reasonable to write ‘John Smith can do it, if they try?’

I wonder if I should write ‘Robert Galbraith is a very good writer, and I enjoy their Cormoron Strike novels very much,’ despite knowing that it’s a pen name of Joanne K Rowling, and that she had wanted to write ‘adult’ novels to be judged separately to her Harry Potter novels, which were also written under a pen name JK Rowling under the belief that boys wouldn’t read books by a female author?

Should I write to her and ask her whether she wants to be referred to as ‘they.’  I doubt that she’d be interested or concerned.  Nor am I.  I just hope she’s got a new novel coming out next year.

No no. I didn't say the "they" stuff is not reasonable. There are quite a few meaningful arguments to be made about it on both sides. You're not making those arguments though.You are saying you are right, those who don't agree with you are various versions of stupid, and mischaracterizing their positions.

What I said was that you are not reasonable. Specifically, in this matter, your position is not subject to change via reason or evidence. You don't appear to be willing to talk about why you believe what you believe, so there isn't a lot to talk about.

I’m stating that it’s not reasonable to use the singular they with single specified persons of readily ascertainable gender - that’s all.  It’s eminently arguable that the singular they is reasonable for other situations. 

Which do you think is correct:

Joanne K Rowling is a fine author, and she has under the pen name of Robert Galbraith written five novels aimed at adults.  Four of her novels are in the Cormoran Strike series.

Or,

Joanne K Rowling is a fine author, and they have under the pen name of Robert Galbraith written five novels aimed at adults.  Four of their novels are in the Cormoran Strike series.

A single specified person of easily ascertainable.  The first with the natural 3rd person singular pronoun.  The second with the singular they.

Which do you prefer, and why?
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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #223 on: December 31, 2018, 12:44:25 AM »
Which do you prefer, and why?

You keep saying it's not a matter of your personal preference, but, obviously, for you that's all it comes down to.

You preference and mine and anyone else's in this thread is irrelevant. What's relevant is what the currently acceptable usage in the English language.

If you want to have a discussion about what should or should not be acceptable, that's different.

But there is no doubt that you are wrong about what is an acceptable use of the word they in the English language today.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #224 on: December 31, 2018, 01:25:46 AM »
Which do you prefer, and why?

You keep saying it's not a matter of your personal preference, but, obviously, for you that's all it comes down to.

You preference and mine and anyone else's in this thread is irrelevant. What's relevant is what the currently acceptable usage in the English language.

If you want to have a discussion about what should or should not be acceptable, that's different.

But there is no doubt that you are wrong about what is an acceptable use of the word they in the English language today.

‘They’ means ‘two or more.’ 

There are acceptable uses of the singular they, but they include the possibility of ‘two or more.’  An example would be:

An American is to blame.  They should accept responsibility.

Even though it appears that only one American is involved, it includes the possibility that two or Americans could be involved, so ‘they’ is appropriate.  ‘Americans are to blame.  They should accept responsibility’ doesn’t work, since it definitely states that there are two or more involved, nor does ‘An American is to blame.  He should accept blame,’ since American is genderless.

But when there’s ‘one and only one’ with no possibility of ‘two or more’, then by definition ‘they’ cannot be used.

I saw John Smith this morning.  They are the chairperson of the ABC Corporation  by definition of ‘they’ is incorrect.

That’s all I’m saying.  I’m open to other uses of the singular they, but not in this case.  Historically, the singular they has never been used in this way.

Another example of valid use of the singular they is:

Anyone can succeed, if they try hard enough..

It used to be that:

Anyone can succeed, if he tries hard enough, but no longer.

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