nonbinary gender pronouns

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can we get this sorted?

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:23 (nine months ago) link

yes/no

brigadier pudding (DJP), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:24 (nine months ago) link

i think it's easy to just use they/their/them unless the person prefers another one

I am also Harl (Karl Malone), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:24 (nine months ago) link

That is my serious answer

brigadier pudding (DJP), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:24 (nine months ago) link

I'm all for having terms denoting a third, non-binary gender to the English language. Let's do it. I'll call anybody whatever they want to be called, what do I care.

That being said, on a grammatical level the they/them construction drives me nuts. I realize that a million different constructs have been put forward (I can recall hearing "shiz" for gender-neutral possessive as far back as '98) but find it baffling that the they/them/their one - which is quite clumsy, confusing, and imprecise - has appeared to develop the most currency.

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:24 (nine months ago) link

case in point (which prompted this) - one of my children goes to a school with identical twins. One of the twins has determined that they want to be referred to as they/them. The other is cisgender. Discussing the two twins in conversation is now virtually impossible.

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:26 (nine months ago) link

also lol DJP :)

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:26 (nine months ago) link

As someone who's studying Swedish, I'm intrigued by the pronoun they came up with ("hen" as opposed to "han" or "hon"). Unfortunately, the English words ("him" "her") aren't close enough to create one that's right in the middle that way - "har"? "hum"?

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:28 (nine months ago) link

this also came up in a book I'm reading (Lindsay's "Journey to Arcturus", 1920) which briefly features a gender-neutral character referred to as "ae" (possessive = "aer" etc.). It worked on the page at least.

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:30 (nine months ago) link

I am really into using Mx. as a non-gendered honorific. I think it looks great.

Yerac, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:31 (nine months ago) link

Discussing the two twins in conversation is now virtually impossible.
― Οὖτις, Friday, September 13, 2019 8:26 PM (three minutes ago) bookmarkflagli

can you not use their names

prorogue mahone (||||||||), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:31 (nine months ago) link

I was reading an "about the author" sort of thing in a book last week, and I kept seeing sentences like "they live with their dog and cat" and it took me forever to realize it was one person and I didn't miss some important piece of domestic information.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:31 (nine months ago) link

xp don't be dense, twins have the same name, that's what makes them twins

j., Friday, 13 September 2019 20:32 (nine months ago) link

can you not use their names

lol I can't even tell them apart, much less remember their names

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:33 (nine months ago) link

That being said, on a grammatical level the they/them construction drives me nuts.

no one gives a shit shakey. they/them has been in use as an indefinite pronoun f o r e v e r

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:34 (nine months ago) link

like as someone who goes by they/them and is a writer, it's not particularly torturous

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:35 (nine months ago) link

Earliest citation for singular 'they' is 1375 - https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/200700

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:36 (nine months ago) link

Honestly, it really isn't that clumsy and confusing. They is an actual existing pronoun, for one (as opposed to Zhe or Shiz or some of the alternatives). In plenty of other languages (that are common languages) there is a non-masc/non-femme 3rd person singular.

And dude, think about the four decades you have spent talking about people/referring to them, and what I will call the "Chris problem" ... (younger generations might not have this, but I feel like Gen X America, the Chris problem is pretty standard) -- growing up, in your 20s and 30s, how many people did you associate with named Chris? Many. There were always multiple Chris-es. There would often be at least one female Chris, but even assuming all the Chris-es were dudes. How did you verbally distinguish one Chris from another? You did so, right? You came up with ways to refer to the numerous Chris-es in your life without much confusion? ... If you can do that, then you can deal with your they-twin and cis-twin convos.

sarahell, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:36 (nine months ago) link

hm NPR article makes a fair point

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:37 (nine months ago) link

xps

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:37 (nine months ago) link

Don't understand the controversy as I feel I've always used it in this way - but grew up in a hippy commune so maybe my experience wasn't usual.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:38 (nine months ago) link

obviously each person gets to choose their preferred pronouns but i'm puzzled when people complain about the grammar of "they/them" which feels like a longstanding uncontroversial usage in spoken English including for cis people unless i'm missing something

a wagon to the curious (Noodle Vague), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:38 (nine months ago) link

sorry realise CaAL has just made the same point, was skimming a bit

a wagon to the curious (Noodle Vague), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:39 (nine months ago) link

lol @ "Chris Problem". I suspect for prior generations it might have been the "Jean/Gene Problem"

xp

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:39 (nine months ago) link

Is this the reason for the thread? https://www.menshealth.com/entertainment/a29037895/sam-smith-changes-pronouns/

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:40 (nine months ago) link

I have no idea who that is, so no

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:40 (nine months ago) link

lol wrongfooted an editor

Smith explained how the decision to change their pronouns are the culmination of their path towards self-acceptance.

j., Friday, 13 September 2019 20:41 (nine months ago) link

I myself enjoy the “challenge”, such as it is

I like using words like themself and theyself, gender neutrality is both serious and fun

flamboyant goon tie included, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:41 (nine months ago) link

otm i was about to say I have used they/them my entire life because I like to be evasive and play coy.

Yerac, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:42 (nine months ago) link

the thing with the twins just ties my head in knots because if you say "they/them" you could be referring to both of them or one of them, and without being able to tell them apart/keep their names straight ... eh I just won't say anything

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:45 (nine months ago) link

"You! You ... two!"

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:46 (nine months ago) link

xp - as long as you don't refer to them as Thing 1 and Thing 2?

sarahell, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:47 (nine months ago) link

I’ve understood and used “singular they” since I was a very small child, without knowing anything about nonbinary gender - feel like ppl who say it’s confusing are either lying or thick

YouGov to see it (wins), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:48 (nine months ago) link

It is IMO a giant nontroversy

brigadier pudding (DJP), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:48 (nine months ago) link

it's def a nontroversy, just an odd language thing. my mind unconsciously/automatically goes to they/them as plural (guess I'm thick, sorry), although obviously as pointed out there's a long history of singular usage in the language.

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:50 (nine months ago) link

using the pronouns people tell you are their correct pronouns is p. basic common decency and respect, etc. seems like a noncontroversial no-brainer to me at this point. maybe if you'd asked me in high school or something, i'd have been uptight about grammar and "words mean things, man!" but i feel like that whole line of thinking has been debunked in so many other capacities anyway.

anyway i'm not sure i even understand the challenge ostensibly posed by the twin case. what's an example of a sentence where (1) it's essential that you use a pronoun and not the person's name, (2) you're speaking about them in the third person, (3) it's not immediately clear from context that you're talking about a single person and not the pair of twins?

weird ilx but sb (Doctor Casino), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:51 (nine months ago) link

well, with my kids the sentence "I told them to put their pants back on" could very easily be singular or plural

brigadier pudding (DJP), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:52 (nine months ago) link

I kinda get what Shakey is trying to figure out -- the plural/singular confusion -- like I am in a volunteer group with two people who are roommates, one is a woman and one is non-binary, and one of the group's projects involves the house where these two people live. I have to think about phrasing in a way that I wouldn't if "they" obviously referred to both roommates, as opposed to just the singular non-binary roommate.

sarahell, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:52 (nine months ago) link

Yeah we use singular they/them all the time in life when we dont know the gender,extending it to be also used when we know the person doesnt identify as male or female doesnt seem a lot.

My issue is being a dumbass and using feminine pronouns when referring to the assigned female at birth mon binary people I know which I thankfully dont do very often and they (plural) haven't been too upset about

Seany's too Dyche to mention (jim in vancouver), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:54 (nine months ago) link

And I will either use both their names, or "they and female person's name" or "they and she" or "she and they" or "they plural"

sarahell, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:54 (nine months ago) link

here's an example:
my daughter discussing the twins at her school and it not being clear if she was referring to one or both of them when saying that they were upset about something

xp

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:54 (nine months ago) link

When we use "you" when addressing two people it is uncertain as to whether we are talking to one or both

Seany's too Dyche to mention (jim in vancouver), Friday, 13 September 2019 20:55 (nine months ago) link

the assigned female at birth mon binary people I know which I thankfully dont do very often and they (plural) haven't been too upset about

heh, my non-binary fellow group member was FAAB and gets pissed when they are mis-gendered as "she"

sarahell, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:55 (nine months ago) link

my daughter discussing the twins at her school and it not being clear if she was referring to one or both of them when saying that they were upset about something

You couldn't just ask her "who was upset? was it nb twin or both of them?"

sarahell, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:58 (nine months ago) link

well yeah there's where the conversation went

Οὖτις, Friday, 13 September 2019 20:59 (nine months ago) link

so? I mean, that's normal? Imagine if she had three friends named Chris, and said, "The Chris-es were mad" ... you might want to know if it was all three or just two of them or ...?

sarahell, Friday, 13 September 2019 21:00 (nine months ago) link

so...

prorogue mahone (||||||||), Friday, 13 September 2019 21:00 (nine months ago) link

Agree "they" has long been an acceptable gender-neutral pronoun, but there are still situations in which it is ambiguous or confusing (and in which it wouldn't likely previously have been used as a singular). E.g. I was recently with friends who have a non-binary teen and there were a lot of times when I couldn't tell whether the parents were discussing the teen or the teen plus one or more other people (e.g. a friend). A relatively harmless but mildly confusing example: after the parents picked me up at the train I heard them say "They asked us to pick up food for them on the way home." I wrongfully assumed they were referring to the teen having a friend or friends over. I mostly just use the teen's name though and it's basically all good.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 13 September 2019 21:00 (nine months ago) link

When we use "you" when addressing two people it is uncertain as to whether we are talking to one or both

This is why English has words like "youse" and "y'all" (though "y'all" can be singular, thus creating the need for "all y'all").

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Friday, 13 September 2019 21:01 (nine months ago) link

Isn’t that just a jocular variant spelling like saying “that sux” or “comix”

YouGov to see it (wins), Saturday, 14 September 2019 08:33 (nine months ago) link

The contexts I consistently see it deployed in suggest not but I could be wrong

Simon H., Saturday, 14 September 2019 08:34 (nine months ago) link

This thread made me think the Danish version through, and I think I finally got it! It's a bit tricky in Danish, since 'de' both means 'they' but was also the formal way to talk to people you didn't know, like 'vous' in French. So it could also go: 'How are they?' 'I'm fine, but come on, we've known each other for years!' Etc. But we would get used to it.

Frederik B, Saturday, 14 September 2019 08:43 (nine months ago) link

The nonbinary pronoun 'they' has been added to the dictionary. https://t.co/tadl1VdfB0

— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) September 17, 2019

mookieproof, Tuesday, 17 September 2019 15:31 (nine months ago) link

In French (and Romanian and likely other Romance languages), the most common slang term for 'dick' is feminine, whereas 'vagina' is masculine.

The French words "moustache" and "barbe" for "moustache" and "beard" are also feminine. "Soins" ("care") is masculine, while "guerre" (war) is feminine. I'm not sure gendering of nouns is based on gender stereotypes at all; tbh, it would be much easier to learn if it were.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Tuesday, 17 September 2019 15:42 (nine months ago) link

Yeah, I heard that David Sedaris story about learning genders in French. It's actually much simpler than he makes it out to be. Abstract concepts are typically feminine (la masculinité), definite objects are masculine (le vagin).

flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, 17 September 2019 16:02 (nine months ago) link

Obv there are lots of exceptions but it's not really hard to grasp

flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, 17 September 2019 16:02 (nine months ago) link

The idea that linguistically we're taught that the feminine gender is associated with the abstract and the masculine gender is associated with the concrete sounds like Kristeva could have a field day on this topic if she already hasn't

flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, 17 September 2019 16:05 (nine months ago) link

except i don't think that's true at all? there are plenty of definite objects that are feminine in French - la chaise, la lampe, la chaussette etc - and plenty of masculine abstract concepts - le futur, le bien-être, etc

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 17 September 2019 17:36 (nine months ago) link

Pacifisme, socialisme, capitalisme, etc = all masculine. If anything, it's more useful to look at the endings of words. Words with "té" and "tion" endings tend to be feminine, ones with "age" and "isme" tend to be masculine, but there are still exceptions.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Tuesday, 17 September 2019 19:32 (nine months ago) link

Oh no, for sure, it's not a hard-and-fast rule but it's usually my fall-back when I'm having to guess a gender on the fly in conversation and the noun itself doesn't end in a decisively gendered way

flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, 17 September 2019 19:42 (nine months ago) link

There's a case to be made that guitars are more abstract than pianos, actually.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Tuesday, 17 September 2019 19:58 (nine months ago) link

best thought of as being related to word ending than to anything else it seems

Seany's too Dyche to mention (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 17 September 2019 20:07 (nine months ago) link

Fwiw I know it seems odd when your mother tongue is English but it's best not to think about this stuff at all when learning a 'gendered' language. 99.9% of the time it scans as neutral to native speakers, just like in English. Which isn't to say that it can't and doesn't get political in some cases, but when it comes to objects and ideas, 'gender' is all over the place, really – to such an extent that it probably shouldn't be called gender at all (although it is true that 'isme', 'ion' and other such suffixes often give you a clue as to whether said word is masculine or feminine in French).

It's mostly the way we talk about human beings that matters (cue Heidegger arguing that 'Mädchen' aka 'young girl' or 'maiden' is grammatically neutral in German because she isn't a fully-fledged human yet), and that's where pushback becomes une nécessité. In 19th century France, 'madame le maire' meant the mayor's wife; then the female mayor; now 'la' maire is quite common and 'mairesse' is perfectly acceptable, even encouraged in Quebec. This incidentally reminds me of an exchange I had with LL a while back: she balked at my use of the term 'poetess' in English, whereas in French quite a few (although not all) women poets would insist on being described as such (and tbf this is also the case in certain English-speaking feminist circles). Conversely, I'm still uncomfortable with the widespread use of 'female' in English because it just sounds… zoological?

Anyhow, this is all too simplistic, no doubt, but I think it's best to focus on how we describe each other regardless of language, in which case I'd like to add that French (to say nothing of Romanian) is indeed fucking terrible at expressing the experiences of nonbinary people, and at some point it will have to evolve.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 17 September 2019 20:33 (nine months ago) link

My favourite is "sénatrice" as in news stories about "Sénateur Bernie Sanders et Sénatrice Elizabeth Warren".

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Tuesday, 17 September 2019 22:43 (nine months ago) link

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_pronouns🕸

The same thing holds for second-person pronouns as well.


just want to insert this: taiwanese singer jolin tsai did a massively popular pro-trans/genderqueer song last year, which contains this lyric:

你是你或者妳,都行

which translates beautifully to:

“you‘re you (male) or you (female), both are okay”

so, using these specific second-person gendered pronouns (which are common in taiwan) to make a point which sounds nongendered but has a pretty clear meaning.

times 牛肉麵 (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 18 September 2019 06:53 (nine months ago) link

why is listing multiple pronouns the norm

like, is anyone she/him or they/her

mookieproof, Friday, 27 September 2019 20:51 (nine months ago) link

is anyone she/him

zooey deschanel and m. ward

flopsy bird (voodoo chili), Friday, 27 September 2019 20:56 (nine months ago) link

some people do want to indicate that they can be called both gendered and neutral pronouns, I don't think anyone's pronominal gender varies based on part of speech. listing two or more declensions is useful if you use neopronouns

president of deluded fruitcakes anonymous (silby), Friday, 27 September 2019 21:01 (nine months ago) link

i deserved that xp

mookieproof, Friday, 27 September 2019 21:01 (nine months ago) link

like, is anyone she/him or they/her

― mookieproof

i've seen the latter, yes

Poody Mae Bubblebutt, Miss Kumquat of 1947 (rushomancy), Friday, 27 September 2019 22:57 (nine months ago) link

zooey d and m ward more like shee/it amirite

Famous Anus (rip van wanko), Friday, 27 September 2019 23:03 (nine months ago) link

all my friends are they/she's

flopson, Friday, 27 September 2019 23:27 (nine months ago) link

'call me anything except 'he''

flopson, Friday, 27 September 2019 23:34 (nine months ago) link

Japanese has a wonderful array of gendered and no gendered pronouns which can be used in all kinds of ways to indicate gender, position relative to others in the conversation, mood and other things.

In the first person you have the masculine and slightly thuggish 「俺、Ore」、「僕、boku」which is used casually by men and boys and has been a somewhat tomboyish signifier for girls but I hear more and more young women using it. 「私、watashi」is pretty neutral but also not often used in spite of the fact it is the one generally taught to foreigners learning the language.

https://people.umass.edu/partee/MGU_2009/papers/Ponamareva.pdf

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Saturday, 28 September 2019 00:48 (nine months ago) link

one month passes...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/16/opinion/sunday/pronouns-quakers.html

The Quakers thus declared themselves to be, like God, “no respecter of persons.” So they thee-ed and thou-ed their fellow human beings without distinction as a form of egalitarian social protest. And like today’s proponents of gender-inclusive pronouns, they faced ridicule and persecution as a result.

But there is also an important difference between the Quakers and today’s pronoun protesters. While modern activists argue that equality demands displays of equal respect toward others, the Quakers demonstrated conscientious disrespect toward everyone. Theirs was an equality of extreme humility and universally low status. Even the famously tolerant founder of Rhode Island, Roger Williams, couldn’t stand the Quakers and complained of the “familiarity, anger, scorn and contempt” inherent in their use of “thee” and “thou.”

j., Sunday, 17 November 2019 20:23 (seven months ago) link

zooey d and m ward more like shee/it amirite
― Famous Anus (rip van wanko)

underrated post

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Sunday, 17 November 2019 21:22 (seven months ago) link

there should be a godwin's law analogue: anyone criticizing the use of singular "they" will reflexively use singular "they" somewhere in their comment. it's uncanny how often it works

like, I’m eating an elephant head (katherine), Monday, 18 November 2019 00:05 (seven months ago) link

are there gender neutral terms for mother/father brother/sister aunt/uncle other than 'parent' 'sibling'?

flopson, Monday, 18 November 2019 02:36 (seven months ago) link

I like parent, sibling, nibling. I call my two gn siblings "my sibs" with a certain amount of enthusiasm.

that said, I’d prefer a single serving of you (flamboyant goon tie included), Monday, 18 November 2019 17:21 (seven months ago) link

what's a nibling? personal pronouns are important because everyone needs to use them; i don't really see words for familial relations in the same need category at all. they show a relationship. if you want to sever your relationship, that's up to you. one cannot sever one's pronominal relationship to oneself.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 18 November 2019 19:19 (seven months ago) link

LL, many relationship-showing words are inherently gendered, e.g. niece, nephew, aunt, uncle. There is no standard non-gendered equivalent for these words, so it's impossible to reflect a relationship without gendering a person who is simply not of that gender.

"Nibling" is an ungendered niece/nephew child-of-siblings word.

Have heard a few for siblings-of-parent but don't much like any of them. Any other suggestions?

Branwell with an N, Monday, 18 November 2019 19:35 (seven months ago) link

the siblings of your parents are your 0th cousins once removed. (your siblings are your 0th cousins.)

Swilling Ambergris, Esq. (silby), Monday, 18 November 2019 19:38 (seven months ago) link

oooooh duh
i forgot about that bc i don't have siblings and my aunts/uncles are not a part of my life bc we haven't spoken in years

silly mistake
nevermind! sorry

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 18 November 2019 19:39 (seven months ago) link

your siblings are your 0th cousins

whoa

a passing spacecadet, Monday, 18 November 2019 20:20 (seven months ago) link

they's all kin

j., Monday, 18 November 2019 20:34 (seven months ago) link

Huh, I didn't know the current usage of 'sibling' was so recent.

1903, modern revival of Old English sibling (“relative, a relation, kinsman”), equivalent to sib +‎ -ling. Compare Middle English sib, sibbe (“relative; kinsman”), German Sippe. The term apparently meant merely kin or relative until the 20th century when its necessity for the study of genetics led to its specialized use. For example, the OED has a 1903 citation in which "sibling" must be defined for those who don't know the intended meaning.

The word 'sib' or 'sibling' is coming into use in genetics in the English-speaking world, as an equivalent of the convenient German term 'Geschwister' [E.&C. Paul, "Human Heredity," 1930]

jmm, Monday, 18 November 2019 20:37 (seven months ago) link

Iceland came up with an official patronym for nonbinary folks this year (-bur):

https://www.icelandreview.com/news/icelandic-names-will-no-longer-be-gendered/

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Monday, 18 November 2019 20:48 (seven months ago) link

so parents still have to petition to give a girl a "boy" name and vice versa unless they identify the child as gender-neutral? weird progressive/regressive juxtaposition there.

Evans on Hammond (evol j), Monday, 18 November 2019 20:54 (seven months ago) link

No, all first names are available to everyone now irrespective of gender "claimed" on birth certificate, but your choice on your birth certificate determines the suffix you must use for your surname (-son, -dottir, or -bur).

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Monday, 18 November 2019 21:32 (seven months ago) link

"Nibling" is an ungendered niece/nephew child-of-siblings word.

I feel like it's a significant enough thing to have a non-gendered term for, but Nibling makes me think of gifs of cute rodents eating carrots, or cute rodents eating carrots in Viking helmets singing Wagner

sarahell, Tuesday, 19 November 2019 16:17 (seven months ago) link

Family words are so confusing for me — tbh I wish we could all just go by our first names instead of foregrounding the family relation. Pronouns are necessary syntactically but to constantly refer to someone as their familial relation is different and not syntactically necessary.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 19 November 2019 16:55 (seven months ago) link

two weeks pass...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2019/12/05/teens-argentina-are-leading-charge-gender-neutral-language/

In Spanish, a language in which all nouns are assigned a gender, the word for soldiers is masculine: “Los soldados de Perón.”

The lyrics Mira sang were different: “Les soldades.”

To most Spanish speakers, the “e” in both words would sound jarring — and grammatically incorrect.

But here, teenagers are rewriting the rules of the language to eliminate gender. In classrooms and daily conversations, young people are changing the way they speak and write — replacing the masculine “o” or the feminine “a” with the gender-neutral “e” in certain words — in order to change what they see as a deeply gendered culture.

j., Friday, 6 December 2019 06:30 (seven months ago) link

this whole entry
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Universal_Friend

Οὖτις, Monday, 9 December 2019 20:09 (seven months ago) link

six months pass...

https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v42/n13/amia-srinivasan/he-she-one-they-ho-hus-hum-ita

Ethics requires that we embrace a practice of naming that makes people’s passage through the world more bearable. But ethics is not exhausted by such a practice. A true ethical relation requires that we see the other, just as we see ourselves, as ultimately beyond names and categories: not because (as liberals like to say) we are ‘all human’ or ‘all persons’, but because each of us exists, finally, beyond the reach of mere words. We all know this instinctively in our own case: that feeling of exceeding, bursting beyond, all the words that can be truly applied to us. What does it take for us recognise that this is true, too, of everyone else: of him and her, of them, of you?

j., Monday, 29 June 2020 17:17 (one week ago) link

Reading this now..

xyzzzz__, Monday, 29 June 2020 19:09 (one week ago) link

is this ... meta-woke?

assert (MatthewK), Monday, 29 June 2020 19:28 (one week ago) link

It's a very good essay on language and politics and better than Sharkey's concern trolling.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 30 June 2020 09:18 (one week ago) link

I was just kidding, it seemed like an overreach to start with pronouns and blast through to “why is language dealing with the ineffable anyway?” Spose I’d better read it now.

assert (MatthewK), Tuesday, 30 June 2020 09:49 (one week ago) link


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