Latest version of AP stylebook makes accommodations for "genderless" people

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yay! Mar 31, 2017

I've been using "they" as a singular pronoun for ages, whenever I think it adds clarity or improve the flow of the text. It's nice to know it's being acknowledged in a style guide, although I'd still have kept on using it according to my own criteria anywayicon_smile.gif

 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
Who are genderless people? Mar 31, 2017

Are we talking about asexual people, those who are biologically men or women but feel no need for sex?

Are we talking about transexuals?

Being genderless for a human being is a biological impossibility. Even hermaphrodite individuals have genders.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
mere semblance Apr 1, 2017

Ok, I can understand the idea behind the pronoun 'it' which stands for a thing, a baby or an animal, when it's not related to sex, yet now it seems to get trendy to abuse the common sense and the majority--normal people.

Although the grammar (as a set of rules; and namely 'they' as plural) is purely minority-made, I asked my colleagues and clients about such things--they either against similar "innovations", or just take such absurdity as rather flat jokes.

Do they in AP really have nothing useful to do, I/you/we/they wonder?

IMO


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 02:35
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
The patient, the defendant, the owner, the customer... they are all over the place Apr 1, 2017

Mario Chavez wrote:

Are we talking about asexual people, those who are biologically men or women but feel no need for sex?

Are we talking about transexuals?

Being genderless for a human being is a biological impossibility. Even hermaphrodite individuals have genders.


Of course, they are not biologically genderless, but for the purposes of a great many texts, their gender is irrelevant and often unknown.
In law, for instance, it does not matter whether the parties are male or female (or indeed a company or other body, which is in fact a legal person, and genderless). The common practice of referring to them all as 'he' is inaccurate and feminists claim it makes women invisible.
In family law it can be infuriating or confusing to refer one minute to 'either spouse', and then to HIS property, when it is just as likely to be HER property. It can be confusing as well as clumsy to keep using the word 'spouse' to avoid the pronoun...

You cannot always get round it by referring to the husband or the wife. A child may be of either gender, but for the purposes of the law it usually does not matter. And in these days of same-sex marriages, people may be very sensitive about their gender. Danish legislation refers to Spouse 1 and Spouse 2, where again, either spouse may, in the eyes of the law, be of either gender.

In any case, you can NOT refer to them indiscriminately as 'he' and 'him'.

It may not be a problem in all languages - some have grammatical gender independently of biological gender, and some have pronouns with common gender. I often wish English had an equivalent instead of the awkward he/she or (s)he and his/her. In speech at least, the plural 'they' and 'their' are often used, because they are common to both genders, but it is frowned upon in writing.

I can think of dozens of examples where it will be wonderful to have a stylebook I can refer to if needed.


 

darkokoporcic  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 02:35
Member (2005)
German to Slovenian
+ ...
Some changes require time Apr 1, 2017

IMHO, fundamental changes in grammar and language use are among them. Those issues cannot be resolved overnight, the transformation of gender use will take many decades. Gender use will probably change in many languages, but I am sure it shall not be the way some want to force it at present because languages generally hate revolutions.

 

Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 00:35
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Much ado about nothing. Apr 2, 2017

If the subject's gender is unclear then I'll use other terms as necessary ("they" "So-and-so" "the manager") but what is this "genderless" stuff? "Male and female He created them" (Genesis 5:2). If it's a man I'll write He, if it's a woman I'll write "She," that's all.

 

Natasha Ziada  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 10:35
English to Dutch
+ ...
Let's leave religion out of it Apr 2, 2017

Kuochoe Nikoi wrote:

If the subject's gender is unclear then I'll use other terms as necessary ("they" "So-and-so" "the manager") but what is this "genderless" stuff? "Male and female He created them" (Genesis 5:2). If it's a man I'll write He, if it's a woman I'll write "She," that's all.


This is not a religious site; let's keep our personal beliefs to ourselves.


 
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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree Apr 4, 2017

Natasha Ziada wrote:

Kuochoe Nikoi wrote:

If the subject's gender is unclear then I'll use other terms as necessary ("they" "So-and-so" "the manager") but what is this "genderless" stuff? "Male and female He created them" (Genesis 5:2). If it's a man I'll write He, if it's a woman I'll write "She," that's all.


This is not a religious site; let's keep our personal beliefs to ourselves.


Yes, let's. As an inveterate rantist, my "religion" involves swearing profusely to express my beliefs, which would in turn preclude my contributing to the debate and thus turn me into a discriminated victim.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Oh Apr 4, 2017

neilmac wrote:

As I see it, it's not really about sexual gender.


I took it as LGBTQ-related. Must be spending too much time reading the Daily Mail.

"I identify as a Chris and I demand my own unique personal pronoun now!"

That kind of thing.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 02:35
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
A new pronoun has been introduced in Swedish Apr 4, 2017

This is a serious problem with some languages, and the Swedish Academy has taken the logical step of introducing an uninflected gender neutral pronoun for when gender is unknown and irrelevant.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/24/sweden-adds-gender-neutral-pronoun-to-dictionary

There are four singular pronouns in Swedish:
Han = he
Hon = she
Den, det for inanimate objects (two grammatical genders)

And now *Hen* for a person who could be any gender, but it is irrelevant.

Nothing to do with biological gender. Women object to being lumped in under 'he', and you could quote the Bible or lots of other places to justify that too!
Trying to formulate around it is clumsy, and the extra punctuation in he/she or (s)he etc. is difficult to type and distracting to read. It is all too easy to end up focusing on the gender issue instead of what the text is actually about.

Suggestions about introducing ho or yo in English never seem to get very far - they would probably not be understood. On the other hand, the plural pronouns ARE used and understood in practice, so now we just have to stop calling that usage wrong.

... the kind of pedantry up with which [enter a pronoun] should not put...


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Conflation abounds... Apr 4, 2017

Chris S wrote:

neilmac wrote:

As I see it, it's not really about sexual gender.


I took it as LGBTQ-related.



Maybe you didn't, but some people evidently do....icon_smile.gif


 


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