gender inclusive English - help needed!
Thread poster: basiek
basiek
English
Oct 13, 2005

Hello
I am a student of English in Poland and I could use some help collecting data on the use of gender inclusive English for my MA thesis.
I've prepared a questionnaire and posted it at http://www.ghnet.pl/~mjmth/questionnaire.rtf
if anyone could find some time to fill it out I would be extremely grateful
all the details and instructions are included in the rtf file
if anyone is willing to help please email the filled out questionnaire to basiek@poczta.fm
Thank you!


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:40
German to English
Gender inclusive English Oct 13, 2005

Hello basiek,

You've prepared an excellent questionnaire that gets to the heart of the problem: how to produce well-written English and at the same time meet the expectations readers have today regarding gender inclusiveness. This is a real challenge for good writers.

Select a pronoun/ pronouns you would use in the following sentences.

1. A teacher is obliged to supervise ……………….. students.
a) his
b) her
c) his or her
d) their

The problem I have with your questionnaire is that I can't select a pronoun from your list. I would take a different approach: in most cases I would opt for changing the singular noun to a plural noun.

Teachers are obliged to supervise their students.

Kim


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:40
Dutch to English
+ ...
Plural Oct 14, 2005

I would to the same as Kim if at all possible.

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I agree with Kim Oct 14, 2005

[quote]basiek wrote:

I have also see (used when absolutely necessary) "his/her" - another option.


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fahmnad
Local time: 13:40
English to French
Plural pronoun + singular noun Oct 14, 2005

Hello !

I don't know if English native speakers will agree with what follows but the company for whom I'm working is now using the plural form of the pronoun + the singular form of a noun to solve this gender issue problem. I first thought it was an oversight from the editor but when I pointed it out to him, his answer was that it was more and more common in English to use the plural form of the pronoun and the singular form of the noun to avoid this issue.

Hope it helps.

Nadia


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m a r i n a  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Plural pronoun Oct 14, 2005

[quote]fahmnad wrote:

the plural form of the pronoun + the singular form of a noun to solve this gender issue problem.


I read in textbooks (Yule and some others)that that is in fact what natives are using these days.

Maru


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xxxdf49f
France
Local time: 12:40
substituting one issue for another... Oct 14, 2005

[quote]Marina Meier wrote:

fahmnad wrote:

the plural form of the pronoun + the singular form of a noun to solve this gender issue problem.
Maru


IMHO, that simply substitutes a gender issue for a linguistic issue... and it makes my ears hurt, may hair raise and my teeth grind when I see it... (but then I'm not native English, so what do I know?!)

I agree with Kim - reword the sentence so you don't have to use either one, use plural instead of singular, and as a last resort use he/she... or she/he if nothing else works.

df


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Tsu Dho Nimh
Local time: 04:40
English
We natives are, indeed, using this Oct 14, 2005

[quote]Marina Meier wrote:

fahmnad wrote:

the plural form of the pronoun + the singular form of a noun to solve this gender issue problem.

I read in textbooks (Yule and some others)that that is in fact what natives are using these days.

Maru


Yes, the natives are using this in their writing.

It has ALWAYS been valid English, it is just gaining more acceptance.


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:40
German to English
Gender inclusive English Oct 14, 2005

fahmnad wrote:

I don't know if English native speakers will agree with what follows but the company for whom I'm working is now using the plural form of the pronoun + the singular form of a noun to solve this gender issue problem. I first thought it was an oversight from the editor but when I pointed it out to him, his answer was that it was more and more common in English to use the plural form of the pronoun and the singular form of the noun to avoid this issue.

Hope it helps.

Nadia


You're right, Nadia, the "use the plural form of the pronoun + the singular form of a noun to solve this gender issue problem" is becoming more and more respectable. Thus, in the example from the questionnaire, we would have:

A teacher is obliged to supervise THEIR students.

This construction is supported by a number of style and usage manuals:

They as a Singular--Most people, when writing and speaking informally, rely on singular they as a matter of course: "If you love someone, set them free" (Sting). If you pay attention to your own speech, you'll probably catch yourself using the same construction yourself. "It's enough to drive anyone out of their senses" (George Bernard Shaw). "I shouldn't like to punish anyone, even if they'd done me wrong" (George Eliot). Some people are annoyed by the incorrect grammar that this solution necessitates, but this construction is used more and more frequently.

http://www.english.upenn.edu/~cjacobso/gender.html

But I'm just too old-fashioned to use 'their' with a singular pronoun in written English. Here's what the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage has to say on the subject:

their, theirs, them, they.
These pronouns are plural. Do not apply them to singular antecedents ... even when the aim is to avoid assuming maleness or femaleness; other solutions exist.

anybody, anyone, everybody, everyone, no one, someone.
Each of these pronouns is singular and requires 'he' or 'she' (never 'they') on further reference: Has anybody lost his ticket? To avoid assuming maleness or femaleness in a general reference, rephrase: Has everyone bought a ticket? ... As a last resort, the awkward 'his' or 'her' is tolerable; a plural pronoun with a singular antecedent is not.


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:40
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
When will "thon" make it into regular usage? Oct 16, 2005

The pronoun "thon" (meaning "that one") has existed for a long time now. It is third person neuter and fits the bill for solving this problem. Thon should endeavor to use this pronoun.

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gender inclusive English - help needed!

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