Author Topic: Episode #700  (Read 25683 times)

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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #195 on: December 29, 2018, 07:22:08 PM »
I wouldn’t refuse to address a person by their preferred pronoun if English had gendered 2nd person singular pronouns (which it doesn’t), but I refuse to refer to single specified persons of easily identifiable gender with ‘they’ when they prefer to be identified as the other gender.  It would mean that I would have to know more about the person than I need to know (their sexual preferences should be and is of absolute no concern to me).  And I possibly would be offending people who don’t want to be referred to with ‘they,’ instead preferring ‘he’ or ‘she.’

Then don't do that. No one is suggesting you must or should.  Simply don't impose this quaint and anachronistic preference on others and certainly don't question their intelligence for disagreeing with you, and understand that some may be may not like your choice to assign them a gender identity.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #196 on: December 29, 2018, 07:43:01 PM »
I wouldn’t refuse to address a person by their preferred pronoun if English had gendered 2nd person singular pronouns (which it doesn’t), but I refuse to refer to single specified persons of easily identifiable gender with ‘they’ when they prefer to be identified as the other gender.  It would mean that I would have to know more about the person than I need to know (their sexual preferences should be and is of absolute no concern to me).  And I possibly would be offending people who don’t want to be referred to with ‘they,’ instead preferring ‘he’ or ‘she.’

Then don't do that. No one is suggesting you must or should.  Simply don't impose this quaint and anachronistic preference on others and certainly don't question their intelligence for disagreeing with you, and understand that some may be may not like your choice to assign them a gender identity.

It’s not ‘a quaint and anachronistic preference’ to insist that ‘they’ shouldn’t be applied to single specified persons of easily identifiable gender.  The Wikipedia page on the ‘singular they’ included a long discussion on the opposition to its use.  The singular they being applied to single specified persons of easily identifiable gender is logically, grammatically and factually incorrect, wrong, false and not true.

As an aside, I’m currently watching, off and on, the BBC documentary ‘Blue Planet II.’  The narrator David Attenborough when referring to a solitary octopus on the screen refers to it being a ‘she.’  According to you lot, he should have referred to her as ‘they,’ since we don’t know how she identifies herself gender-wise.  She might want to be identified in a non-gendered way as ‘they.’  We should respect her wishes.

Rhea Butcher on one of her tweets has, apparently, noted that she doesn’t object to her being referred as ‘she,’ although she’d prefer ‘they,’ provided the comment is respectful.  I’m not going to comment on her gender identification, because it’s of no concern nor interest to me.  Her gender identification is her business, not mine.
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Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #197 on: December 29, 2018, 07:47:05 PM »
This argument has gone on far too long.

Apparently not  ???

Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #198 on: December 29, 2018, 08:06:28 PM »
This argument has gone on far too long.

Apparently not  ???

Single specified persons of easily identifiable gender, such as John Smith, Donald Trump, CarbShark and possibly Tassie Dave (I assume ‘Dave’ is a shortened form of ‘David’ not ‘Daviana’) should be referred to as ‘he’ or ‘she,’ not ‘they.’  That’s so obvious, that it’s not a topic of sensible argument.
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #199 on: December 29, 2018, 09:52:48 PM »
As an aside, I’m currently watching, off and on, the BBC documentary ‘Blue Planet II.’  The narrator David Attenborough when referring to a solitary octopus on the screen refers to it being a ‘she.’  According to you lot, he should have referred to her as ‘they,’ since we don’t know how she identifies herself gender-wise.  She might want to be identified in a non-gendered way as ‘they.’  We should respect her wishes.

You’re wrong on three counts. First, no one in this lot said anything about offending animals. Second, it’s impossible that an octopus would ever know that humans were referring to her gender in the human language or care, much less be offended by that; third no one has said anyone must use ‘they,’ but merely that its acceptable. There are other acceptable ways to refer to a creature without using a gender specific pronoun.


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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #200 on: December 29, 2018, 10:52:41 PM »
Bachfiend, I'm curious. Are you right in an absolute sense where no evidence or arguement can alter your position?
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #201 on: December 30, 2018, 12:42:34 AM »
Bachfiend, I'm curious. Are you right in an absolute sense where no evidence or arguement can alter your position?

I could change my position on the singular they not being used for single specified persons of readily ascertainable gender when another word is adopted for the 3rd person plural pronoun, whatever it may be - let’s say thex for argument sake.  But until then, ‘they’ means two or more.  Or at least, possibly two or more.

CarbShark,

I was parodying your position.  It’s ridiculous using the singular they for single specified persons of readily ascertainable gender to avoid offending them, when in most cases they aren’t offended (and possibly would be more likely to be offended by being referred to as ‘they’).  And people, such as Rhea Butcher, who would prefer the singular they, are on record that they wouldn’t be offended by ‘he’ or ‘she,’ if done with respect.
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Offline fuzzyMarmot

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #202 on: December 30, 2018, 02:28:24 AM »
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".

Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #203 on: December 30, 2018, 02:53:27 AM »
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.
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Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #204 on: December 30, 2018, 03:58:48 AM »
3.  Promoting the fiction that someone can be half male and half female.  A hermaphrodite.

No-one is promoting anything close to that sentence. Plus, The correct term is intersex. It's the 'I' in LBGTIQ
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex

We are promoting the fact that some people choose to identify as neither male or female. Non-binary gender. For various reasons. Not all to do with genitals.


Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #205 on: December 30, 2018, 04:12:32 AM »
3.  Promoting the fiction that someone can be half male and half female.  A hermaphrodite.

No-one is promoting anything close to that sentence. Plus, The correct term is intersex. It's the 'I' in LBGTIQ
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex

We are promoting the fact that some people choose to identify as neither male or female. Non-binary gender. For various reasons. Not all to do with genitals.

And you’re demoting the fact that most people choose to identify as either male or female.  For various reasons.  Not all to do with genitals.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #206 on: December 30, 2018, 06:10:05 AM »
Bachfiend, I'm curious. Are you right in an absolute sense where no evidence or arguement can alter your position?

I could change my position on the singular they not being used for single specified persons of readily ascertainable gender when another word is adopted for the 3rd person plural pronoun, whatever it may be - let’s say thex for argument sake.  But until then, ‘they’ means two or more.  Or at least, possibly two or more.

The condition you have described for altering your position is neither evidence or argument. Until you can describe evidence or arguments that would alter your position, I must treat it as an unwavering belief. I'll cease to argue with you about it in the same way I won't argue about religious beliefs. Beliefs are not subject to evidence or reason, so by definition they are inarguable.

On the other hand, beliefs can be discussed and explored. My understanding of this topic is based on what I've learned from sources like the Lexicon Valley podcast, the Great Courses, listening to linguists and editors, and the science of sexual identity showing that physical sex organs, sexual orientation, and sexual identity are three distict but strongly correlated factors in a person's sense of self. (See the transcript of the Science Vs episode "The Science of Being Transgender" for 136 references related to this claim.)

I'm not asking you to accept any of that. I'm letting you know the basis for my position, and given this is a public conversation, letting others know where they can find out much much more.

I am curious about why you are using straw man arguments. Specifically, you have accused us of disregarding the individual pronoun preferences of any given person. This is explicitly the opposite of what the rest of us in this discussion claim:

If a person's pronoun preference is known to me, I should use it out of respect. If a person's pronoun preference is not known to me I may:
1. Use the neutral 'they' until I can correctly ascertain their preferred pronoun.
2. Ask.
3. Make an assumption (and apologise if my guess was wrong).

Again, I'm not asking you to agree with my position. I'm interested in why you think mischaracterizing my position justifies your belief?
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #207 on: December 30, 2018, 09:05:58 AM »
Single specified persons of easily identifiable gender, such as John Smith, Donald Trump, CarbShark and possibly Tassie Dave (I assume ‘Dave’ is a shortened form of ‘David’ not ‘Daviana’) should be referred to as ‘he’ or ‘she,’ not ‘they.’  That’s so obvious, that it’s not a topic of sensible argument.

Not everybody has a name that unambiguously identifies their gender, and some people have names almost always given to people of a different gender. A person’s name is an unreliable means for guessing their gender. Even saying “he or she” (which I have frequently done) leaves out people who identify as other than male or female.

OTOH, if I know a person’s gender and it is male or female, I will refer to them as “he” or “she.”
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #208 on: December 30, 2018, 12:38:11 PM »
Bachfiend, I'm curious. Are you right in an absolute sense where no evidence or arguement can alter your position?

I could change my position on the singular they not being used for single specified persons of readily ascertainable gender when another word is adopted for the 3rd person plural pronoun, whatever it may be - let’s say thex for argument sake.  But until then, ‘they’ means two or more.  Or at least, possibly two or more.

The condition you have described for altering your position is neither evidence or argument. Until you can describe evidence or arguments that would alter your position, I must treat it as an unwavering belief. I'll cease to argue with you about it in the same way I won't argue about religious beliefs. Beliefs are not subject to evidence or reason, so by definition they are inarguable.

On the other hand, beliefs can be discussed and explored. My understanding of this topic is based on what I've learned from sources like the Lexicon Valley podcast, the Great Courses, listening to linguists and editors, and the science of sexual identity showing that physical sex organs, sexual orientation, and sexual identity are three distict but strongly correlated factors in a person's sense of self. (See the transcript of the Science Vs episode "The Science of Being Transgender" for 136 references related to this claim.)

I'm not asking you to accept any of that. I'm letting you know the basis for my position, and given this is a public conversation, letting others know where they can find out much much more.

I am curious about why you are using straw man arguments. Specifically, you have accused us of disregarding the individual pronoun preferences of any given person. This is explicitly the opposite of what the rest of us in this discussion claim:

If a person's pronoun preference is known to me, I should use it out of respect. If a person's pronoun preference is not known to me I may:
1. Use the neutral 'they' until I can correctly ascertain their preferred pronoun.
2. Ask.
3. Make an assumption (and apologise if my guess was wrong).

Again, I'm not asking you to agree with my position. I'm interested in why you think mischaracterizing my position justifies your belief?

Talk about straw man arguments.  ‘They’ means ‘two or more.’  ‘He’ or ‘she’ means ‘one and only one.’

The cases in which the singular they are validly used implicitly include the possibility of being ‘two or more.’

It used to be acceptable to write ‘Anyone can do it, if he tries.’  But it’s well and truly accepted nowadays that the correct formulation is ‘Anyone can do it, if they try.’

But extending it to ‘John Smith can do it, if they try’ is ludicrous.  The correct formulation is ‘John Smith can do it, if he tries.’

Writing ‘John Smith can do it, if they try’ in order to express support and solidarity with the very small percentage of the population who want to be treated differently to that corresponding to the gender they were ascribed on their birth certificates is an empty gesture.  If you want to express support, then there are better ways of doing it.

Most John Smiths want to be considered to be male.  Using ‘they’ with each and every one of the John Smiths just in case there might be one John Smith who is unhappy with his/her ascribed gender, and wants a different 3rd person singular pronoun is just silly.  I take it you’re not going to be writing to the John Smith concerned to ask him/her which pronoun he/she prefers?
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Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #209 on: December 30, 2018, 01:10:36 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.
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