Author Topic: Episode #700  (Read 25654 times)

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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #150 on: December 25, 2018, 12:25:21 AM »

I think it was I who noted that English lacks a gendered 2nd person pronoun.

Dude?


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And your point?

This argument about ‘they’ as a 3rd person singular pronoun arose because arthwollipot referred to CarbShark as ‘they.’  Not knowing or caring that he’s male.  And being in the habit of using ‘they’ as a non-gendered option.

I argue that a single specified person should be referred to as either ‘he’ or ‘she’ (or whatever gender the person wants).  ‘He or she’ applies to single specified persons (one person and only one person) and ‘they’ applies to anything else, including one person - but it may also include two or more people.

As an illustration, consider the following statements:

John Smith is to blame.  He should accept responsibilty.

Someone is to blame.  They should accept responsibility.

An American is to blame.  He (or perhaps it should be she) should accept responsibility.


In the first statement, it’s a single specified person who’s male.  The pronoun must be ‘he.’  In the second statement, someone could be one person.  It could also be two or more people.  The pronoun must be ‘they.’  The third statement is difficult owing to English not having a non-gendered 3rd person singular pronoun.  The American could be male or female.  Converting the statement into the plural won’t work, because one person and only one person might have been seen doing whatever the person is being blamed for (perhaps the person is known to be an American because the person is wearing a ‘make America great again’ cap, a ‘Stars and Stripes’ t-shirt, and is singing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ - including the last two words, ‘play ball!’, but the witnesses can’t agree about the person’s gender).  This is perhaps the only occasion that I might accept ‘they’ as the pronoun (it’s the one case where English really needs a 3rd person singular pronoun), although it gives the impression that there might have been more than one person involved.  ‘An American’ also isn’t specifying the person, unlike ‘CarbShark.’   It would be better to reformulate the sentence as ‘An American is to blame, who should accept responsibilty.’

Can anyone give a historical example of a single specified person being referred to as ‘they?’
« Last Edit: December 25, 2018, 04:05:12 PM by bachfiend »
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Offline Harry Black

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #151 on: December 26, 2018, 06:09:13 PM »
A quick google shows examples dating back to 1375. How historical do you mean?
And now I have pointed you in the right direction and you are arguing in good faith, I assume you shouldnt have a problem using google yourself right?

Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #152 on: December 26, 2018, 06:58:17 PM »
A quick google shows examples dating back to 1375. How historical do you mean?
And now I have pointed you in the right direction and you are arguing in good faith, I assume you shouldnt have a problem using google yourself right?

I wasn’t asking for ‘they’ being used with a single person.  I was asking for historical examples of ‘they’ being used with a single specified person.

The examples I offered:

John Smith is to blame.  He should accept responsibility.

Someone is to blame.  They should accept responsibility.
A single person is indicated, but it’s no specified person.  It could be one person, male or female, or it could have been two or more people.

An American is to blame.  He (she or they) should accept responsibility.  This one is difficult.  ‘They’ possibly best, but again, no single specified person is being indicated.  The statement is best reformulated asAn American is to blame, who should take responsibility.

I was asking for historical cases where ‘they’ has been used referring to a single specified person being.  Such as CarbShark, when his gender wasn’t apparent to the commentator owing to laziness (‘he’ should have been used, since he’s obviously male).  Using ‘they’ for cases in which the person being referred to doesn’t want to be designated as male or female is a novel modern development.
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Offline Harry Black

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #153 on: December 26, 2018, 07:07:37 PM »
If no such example could be found, you would still be wrong.
Quote
Under new rules to be announced tomorrow, it will be illegal for anyone to donate an organ to their wife."[a] Ballantyne, "Transplant Jury to Vet Live Donors", Sunday Times (London) 25 3. 1990

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they

The reason you would be wrong is that its quite easy to know something in one moment and forget or be unsure in the next.
Your only vaguely valid critique is of Arths ability as a detective. Your gripe is pettiness in the extreme.

And again- Why is the first letter of your username  not capitalised?

Offline swan

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #154 on: December 26, 2018, 07:36:11 PM »
If no such example could be found, you would still be wrong.
Quote
Under new rules to be announced tomorrow, it will be illegal for anyone to donate an organ to their wife."[a] Ballantyne, "Transplant Jury to Vet Live Donors", Sunday Times (London) 25 3. 1990

Sir Reginald's wife will be quite disappointed…



(risqué lyrics but still SFW)

Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #155 on: December 26, 2018, 07:40:53 PM »
If no such example could be found, you would still be wrong.
Quote
Under new rules to be announced tomorrow, it will be illegal for anyone to donate an organ to their wife."[a] Ballantyne, "Transplant Jury to Vet Live Donors", Sunday Times (London) 25 3. 1990

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they

The reason you would be wrong is that its quite easy to know something in one moment and forget or be unsure in the next.
Your only vaguely valid critique is of Arths ability as a detective. Your gripe is pettiness in the extreme.

And again- Why is the first letter of your username  not capitalised?

Anyone in ‘’Under new rules to be announced tomorrow, it will be illegal for anyone to donate an organ to their wife’ isn’t a single specified person.

I was also going to note that the sentence should have read ‘under new rules to be announced tomorrow, it will be illegal for anyone to donate an organ to his wife,’ but that would be incorrect with same sex marriage being increasingly accepted.  Perhaps ‘wife’ should have been replaced with ‘marital partner?’

‘Anyone’ isn’t a single specified person unlike CarbShark, who is, even under his username (and he identifies himself every time as a guy).

Do you have any historical examples of ‘they’ being used referring to a single specified person along the lines of my hypothetical model: ‘I saw John Smith (a single specified person) this morning.  They are the chairperson of the ABC Corporation.’  No one would write that.  It’s natural to write: ‘I saw John Smith this morning.  He is the chairman of ABC Corporation.’  It’s not sexist to use the term ‘chairman’ when it’s being applied to a male holding the position, in the same way it wouldn’t be sexist using the word ‘actress’ for a woman engaged in that career.

I use ‘bachfiend’ without a capital letter, because it’s none of your business.  I can pick any username I want and formulate it anyway I want.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 12:07:13 AM by bachfiend »
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #156 on: December 26, 2018, 07:49:58 PM »
If no such example could be found, you would still be wrong.
Quote
Under new rules to be announced tomorrow, it will be illegal for anyone to donate an organ to their wife."[a] Ballantyne, "Transplant Jury to Vet Live Donors", Sunday Times (London) 25 3. 1990

Sir Reginald's wife will be quite disappointed…



(risqué lyrics but still SFW)

A reverend visiting two of his elderly spinster parishioners in their home was shocked to see an unused condom on their piano.  When he asked them why, one of them said that they’d found it on the footpath, and the instruction on the packet read ‘to prevent infection, place on organ.’  And since they didn’t have an organ...
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Offline Swagomatic

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #157 on: December 27, 2018, 11:48:18 AM »
Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.
---George Bernard Shaw

Offline CarbShark

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #158 on: December 27, 2018, 11:59:28 AM »

Dude?

And your point?



Maybe one should pick one's battles?

We have  pages and pages and hundreds of posts about a silly grammatical preference. 

If you convince anyone you're right, no one is going to eat better and live longer as a result, or shorten their life by eating worse.

It's not going to lead to acceptance of new science, or a better understanding of the law, or history or nature or anything else.

It doesn't get us any closer to solving or even understanding any of the great or lessor mysteries of the universe.

It's not even correcting an in incorrect usage.

It's very simply you imposing your own personal preference that's not shared by experts and authorities (or, apparently anyone here), in a dynamic and evolving system (English language and grammar).

Even though back in the mid-19th century when you were scolded for using "they" that way for the very reasons you give now, English has moved on, and they is now acceptable in third person references to single individuals where the gender is not known or the speaker or the subject prefer, for whatever reason, to not specify.

... and Donald Trump is president of the United States

Offline Harry Black

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #159 on: December 27, 2018, 01:09:55 PM »
http://www.flamewarriorsguide.com/warriorshtm/tirelessrebutter.htm
Quote
For Tireless Rebutter there is no such thing as a trivial dispute. He regards all challenges as barbarians at the gates. His unflagging tenacity in making his points numbs and eventually wears down the opposition. Confident that his arguments are sound, Tireless Rebutter can't understand why he is universally loathed.

Thank you all for your service.

Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #160 on: December 27, 2018, 02:18:46 PM »

Dude?

And your point?



Maybe one should pick one's battles?

We have  pages and pages and hundreds of posts about a silly grammatical preference. 

If you convince anyone you're right, no one is going to eat better and live longer as a result, or shorten their life by eating worse.

It's not going to lead to acceptance of new science, or a better understanding of the law, or history or nature or anything else.

It doesn't get us any closer to solving or even understanding any of the great or lessor mysteries of the universe.

It's not even correcting an in incorrect usage.

It's very simply you imposing your own personal preference that's not shared by experts and authorities (or, apparently anyone here), in a dynamic and evolving system (English language and grammar).

Even though back in the mid-19th century when you were scolded for using "they" that way for the very reasons you give now, English has moved on, and they is now acceptable in third person references to single individuals where the gender is not known or the speaker or the subject prefer, for whatever reason, to not specify.

It’s not a ‘silly grammatical preference.’

A single specified person with a readily determined gender should be identified wth the appropriate personal pronoun and possessive adjective.  ‘I saw John Smith this morning.  They are the chairperson of the ABC Corporation’ is not only grammatically incorrect, but it’s also silly.  ‘I saw John Smith this morning.  He is the chairman of the ABC Corporation’ is not only grammatically correct, but it also sensible.  And reads much better.

It has nothing to do with avoiding sexism in language and ambiguity.  And respecting people’s preferences in how they’re identified.

English compared to other languages is relatively ungendered.  Some languages take different verb endings depending whether the speaker is male or female.  If English had different 2nd person singular pronouns for males and females (say ‘youm’ for males and ‘youf’ for females) then people would have reason to complain.  But it doesn’t.

I don’t disagree that ‘he’ should be avoided after the use of an indefinite subject such as ‘someone,’ etc.  But if the subject is CarbShark, then the following personal pronoun should be ‘he’, since CarbShark is obviously male, and identifies himself as ‘a guy’ every time he comments.
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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #161 on: December 27, 2018, 04:08:46 PM »

You keep repeating yourself... everyone here understands your point,  they just disagree with it.


Amend and resubmit.

Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #162 on: December 27, 2018, 06:20:26 PM »

You keep repeating yourself... everyone here understands your point,  they just disagree with it.


Just because the people who respond insisting that ‘they’ is an acceptable 3rd person singular pronoun for single specified persons with readily ascertainable gender such as CarbShark, who signs every single one of his comments with ‘I’m just a guy,’ doesn’t make them right.

If ‘they’ is an acceptable 3rd person singular pronoun for single specified persons, then ‘I saw John Smith this morning.  They are the chairperson of the ABC Corporation’ would be acceptable.

Are you arguing that?  Really?

It’s got nothing to attempting to avoid sexism in language or political correctness. 
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Offline Harry Black

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #163 on: December 27, 2018, 06:50:24 PM »
Yeah. Really. That example is absolutely fine.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #164 on: December 27, 2018, 06:55:55 PM »
If no such example could be found, you would still be wrong.
Quote
Under new rules to be announced tomorrow, it will be illegal for anyone to donate an organ to their wife."[a] Ballantyne, "Transplant Jury to Vet Live Donors", Sunday Times (London) 25 3. 1990

Sir Reginald's wife will be quite disappointed…



(risqué lyrics but still SFW)

Marvelous! Thanks for posting that.
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