Author Topic: Episode #700  (Read 25402 times)

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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #435 on: February 12, 2019, 06:57:17 pm »
As is normally the case, we're now talking about two different things.

bachfiend:  If a transgendered person requested that you use the pronouns 'they/them' would you do so?  If the answer is yes, then I have no quarrel with you.

But does it happen?  I don’t have any experience with transgender persons, but if a person changes gender, going from male to female for example, isn’t that person identifying as female and wanting to be recognised as female, in which case ‘she’ would be the appropriate pronoun?  If the person wants to be referred to as ‘they,’ isn’t that person actually indicating a preference to being of non-binary gender?

We’ve always be talking about two things ever since this kerfuffle started weeks (months?) ago.  All I’ve ever said is that ‘they’ should not be used as the default 3rd person singular pronoun for single specified persons of readily identified gender, and that if a non-gendered 3rd person singular pronoun is considered desirable then one should be devised.

It has been conflated with single non-specified generic persons of irrelevant gender (eg ‘anyone can succeed if they (not ‘he’) try’ is perfectly acceptable) and single specified persons of uncertain gender.  If I’m uncertain about the gender, my rule is not to use a pronoun.  Not to use ‘he,’ ‘she,’ or ‘they’ as the default.  It’s never happened that I’ve been asked to use ‘they’ by a person.  It’s entirely hypothetical until it happens.  I doubt it will ever happen, because I don’t use social media.  Never have.  I used ‘she’ to refer to Rhea Butcher to be deliberately provocative on this very obscure website because I was asked (I wish I hadn’t), but I’m pretty certain that Rhea Butcher wouldn’t take any notice and wouldn’t be offended.
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Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #436 on: February 12, 2019, 07:04:01 pm »
Do you address people with Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms or Mz

Personally I stopped using patriarchal honorifics in the 80s. Australia is a first-name culture. We're talking specifically about pronouns. Honorifics are irrelevant.

I still use sir and ma'am a lot with clients - it just connotes a sense of formality and respect that seems appropriate for business dealings, even though ma'am sounds so archaic and sexist when you think about it too much.

English needs a good formal non-gender-specific honorific for us to argue about.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #437 on: February 12, 2019, 07:26:23 pm »
Do you address people with Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms or Mz

Personally I stopped using patriarchal honorifics in the 80s. Australia is a first-name culture. We're talking specifically about pronouns. Honorifics are irrelevant.

I still use sir and ma'am a lot with clients - it just connotes a sense of formality and respect that seems appropriate for business dealings, even though ma'am sounds so archaic and sexist when you think about it too much.

English needs a good formal non-gender-specific honorific for us to argue about.

The first thing I thought was: do Germans still use ‘gnädrige Frau’ (which is even more sexist)?  I only come across it in novels nowadays.  I don’t think it’s necessary to use any honorifics when talking to a person.  Or even the person’s name.  It’s usually obvious whom you’re talking to.
 
If you think English needs a good formal non-gender-specific honorific, you can call me ‘your excellency’ in future 😇

I’m not certain I’ve used the right smiley.  It’s supposed to be taken humorously not seriously without causing offence.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 07:28:42 pm by bachfiend »
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Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #438 on: February 12, 2019, 08:06:47 pm »
If you think English needs a good formal non-gender-specific honorific, you can call me ‘your excellency’ in future

I was thinking something like "gov'ner".

Although it would be an interesting challenge to get people to adopt to using second person pronouns with third person verb conjugations, does your excellency agree?
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #439 on: February 12, 2019, 08:22:31 pm »
If you think English needs a good formal non-gender-specific honorific, you can call me ‘your excellency’ in future

I was thinking something like "gov'ner".

Although it would be an interesting challenge to get people to adopt to using second person pronouns with third person verb conjugations, does your excellency agree?

Well, it’s ‘you agree, they agree, he or she agrees’ so 2nd person pronouns have 2nd person verb conjugations.  ‘You’ is both singular and plural.  I don’t like ‘gov’ner’ or ‘governer’.  I have trouble governing myself, let alone others.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #440 on: February 12, 2019, 08:54:35 pm »
Do you address people with Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms or Mz

Personally I stopped using patriarchal honorifics in the 80s. Australia is a first-name culture. We're talking specifically about pronouns. Honorifics are irrelevant.

I still use sir and ma'am a lot with clients - it just connotes a sense of formality and respect that seems appropriate for business dealings, even though ma'am sounds so archaic and sexist when you think about it too much.

English needs a good formal non-gender-specific honorific for us to argue about.

I would feel extremely uncomfortable if anyone ever called me "sir", regardless of the circumstances. It's just not commonly used any more. "Ma'am" even less.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #441 on: February 12, 2019, 09:18:25 pm »
But does it happen?  I don’t have any experience with transgender persons, but if a person changes gender, going from male to female for example, isn’t that person identifying as female and wanting to be recognised as female, in which case ‘she’ would be the appropriate pronoun?  If the person wants to be referred to as ‘they,’ isn’t that person actually indicating a preference to being of non-binary gender?

Yes. It happens. Regularly.

All I’ve ever said is that ‘they’ should not be used as the default 3rd person singular pronoun for single specified persons of readily identified gender...

Please explain how you readily identify someone's gender. To me, that sounds an awful like "assume".

and that if a non-gendered 3rd person singular pronoun is considered desirable then one should be devised.

I know you never click on links I provide, but I have already explained that many nonbinary pronouns have been proposed over several decades, and none of them have entered common use. What makes you think any new one might?

It has been conflated with single non-specified generic persons of irrelevant gender (eg ‘anyone can succeed if they (not ‘he’) try’ is perfectly acceptable) and single specified persons of uncertain gender.  If I’m uncertain about the gender, my rule is not to use a pronoun.  Not to use ‘he,’ ‘she,’ or ‘they’ as the default.  It’s never happened that I’ve been asked to use ‘they’ by a person.  It’s entirely hypothetical until it happens.  I doubt it will ever happen, because I don’t use social media.  Never have.  I used ‘she’ to refer to Rhea Butcher to be deliberately provocative on this very obscure website because I was asked (I wish I hadn’t), but I’m pretty certain that Rhea Butcher wouldn’t take any notice and wouldn’t be offended.

Your personal experience is irrelevant. There are many people who prefer gender neutral pronouns. If you refuse to use them, it is harrassment and abuse.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #442 on: February 12, 2019, 09:27:32 pm »
Do you address people with Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms or Mz

Personally I stopped using patriarchal honorifics in the 80s. Australia is a first-name culture. We're talking specifically about pronouns. Honorifics are irrelevant.

I still use sir and ma'am a lot with clients - it just connotes a sense of formality and respect that seems appropriate for business dealings, even though ma'am sounds so archaic and sexist when you think about it too much.

English needs a good formal non-gender-specific honorific for us to argue about.

I would feel extremely uncomfortable if anyone ever called me "sir", regardless of the circumstances. It's just not commonly used any more. "Ma'am" even less.

When I was a surgical intern decades ago, I clerked for a very prim and proper female ophthalmologist Miss Bremner (surgeons in Australia and Britain are addressed with the ‘honorific’ ‘Mr’ - surgery is still heavily male dominated and riddled with sexism, alas) ((The American honorific of ‘Dr’ is much more sensible.)) (((It’s a worry that I can remember something that happened decades ago, but I can’t remember what happened last week.)))  As a surgical intern, you’re obliged to genuflect to your betters.  I called everyone ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am.’
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #443 on: February 12, 2019, 09:46:31 pm »
arthwollipot,

A non-gendered 3rd person singular pronoun hasn’t caught on, because the right one hasn’t been suggested.

I think the suggested German one of ‘dey’ (to rhyme with ‘they’ is a good one.  Language changes because people use the change.  If you think that there’s a need for a default non-gendered 3rd person singular pronoun, then use ‘dey,’ and explain to people why you are doing it.

Using ‘they’ as the default is ugly and often ambiguous.  ‘Alex left the room carrying their laptop’ is both ugly and ambiguous.  Is Alex Alexander or Alexandra?  Is the laptop Alexs’ or someone else’s?

‘Alex left the room carrying deys laptop’ is much clearer.  It might sound a little odd at first, but with usage it will become easier.

When Australia went on the metric system decades ago, it was almost inevitable that ‘kilometre’ was going to be mispronounced like ‘thermometer’ instead of logically like ‘millimetre’ or ‘centimetre.’  It’s so common nowadays, it’s almost a shock to hear ‘kilometre’ pronounced correctly.  Although I still use the correct pronunciation.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #444 on: February 12, 2019, 11:00:41 pm »
Yes, you've made it clear that for you, a prescriptively correct grammar is more important than trans peoples' mental health.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #445 on: February 12, 2019, 11:55:44 pm »
Yes, you've made it clear that for you, a prescriptively correct grammar is more important than trans peoples' mental health.

Well, we need a prescriptively grammar-correct non-ambiguous non-gendered 3rd person singular pronoun, and one should be devised.

English is a remarkably non-gendered language, and it’s getting better.  People can talk about the actors in a theatre company, and no one nowadays will fail to think that it includes both male and female actors (in Shakespeare’s days it was different.  Male adolescents took the female roles, and the actors were all male).

German in comparison is heavily gendered.  Der Schauspieler and die Schauspielerin are the male and female actors, and it’s mandatory to use the corresponding 3rd person singular pronouns of either er or sie.  And the possessive adjective sein or ihr.  And if the noun is neuter as in das Mädchen (the girl) es (it) and sein (its).  And then to avoid sexism, when referring to more than one actors of unspecified gender they have to use the clumsy die Schauspieler(innen).  Die Schauspieler are more than one male actors.

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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #446 on: February 13, 2019, 12:16:18 am »
Yes, you've made it clear that for you, a prescriptively correct grammar is more important than trans peoples' mental health.

Well, we need a prescriptively grammar-correct non-ambiguous non-gendered 3rd person singular pronoun, and one should be devised.

You've already chosen one. All you have to do now is to get other people to use it. Good luck with that. Personally I won't be holding my breath.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #447 on: February 13, 2019, 05:30:03 am »
Yes, you've made it clear that for you, a prescriptively correct grammar is more important than trans peoples' mental health.

Well, we need a prescriptively grammar-correct non-ambiguous non-gendered 3rd person singular pronoun, and one should be devised.

You've already chosen one. All you have to do now is to get other people to use it. Good luck with that. Personally I won't be holding my breath.

I’ve been thinking.  The readership of the SGU forum is relatively liberal and possibly progressive.  How do you know that the general population shares your overdeveloped social conscience?   How do you know that the general population is happy to use ‘they’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’ as appropriate?  Or that, being conservative, a considerable proportion of the population won’t oppose using the ‘singular they’ for ideological reasons?

Many people hearing or reading you using ‘they’ will possibly assume you’re being just ignorant or lazy (as I did).  If you use a special devised pronoun such as ‘dey’ if and when they query you about it, you could inform them and possibly raise social awareness.
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Offline Belgarath

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #448 on: February 13, 2019, 07:59:08 am »
See.  I asked a very simple yes or no question and I got several paragraphs unrelated to the question.  Should I take that as a no?




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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #700
« Reply #449 on: February 13, 2019, 02:53:14 pm »
See.  I asked a very simple yes or no question and I got several paragraphs unrelated to the question.  Should I take that as a no?




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I wasn’t aware you were asking me a question.  I had to go back and reread your previous comments.  Was it ‘if a transgendered person asked me to use a particular pronoun, would I use it?’

It’s never happened.  I don’t use social media, never have.  I have very limited social contact.  I only comment on blogs such as this.  It’s a hypothetical situation.  But I think that people have exactly the same right to be referred to with a particular 3rd person singular pronoun in order to possibly increase their mental well-being as they do be described as highly intelligent or extremely talented, if asked by that particular person,  in order to possibly increase their mental well-being.

Would you describe a person as highly intelligent or extremely talented if asked by that person?

My answer would be no to both questions.

In such hypothetical situations, if I were commenting on transgendered persons, I wouldn’t use the preferred pronoun.  I’d use some other formulation to avoid using a pronoun.  But I would also attempt to be respectful.  In the same way, I wouldn’t call a person highly intelligent or extremely talented, if I didn’t think that was the case.  But I also wouldn’t call that person a stupid  klutz (notice that I haven’t used a ‘he’ or ‘she’).
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