The Continuing Insult To The English Language

Yithian

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Another BBC article using 'they' in place of 'he' or 'she'.

https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/uk-50638629

Completely not onboard. Repeat the damned name, but agreement in number is important. Yes, there are situations in which it is not observed (agent and hence number unknown, for example), but this is not one.

This person is a woman who doesn't like being a woman. If she says she wants to be treated as a man, I'll call her 'he', but she doesn't get to be more than one person any more than I can be 'everyone' or 'nobody'.
 

escargot

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Another BBC article using 'they' in place of 'he' or 'she'.

https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/uk-50638629

Completely not onboard. Repeat the damned name, but agreement in number is important. Yes, there are situations in which it is not observed (agent and hence number unknown, for example), but this is not one.

This person is a woman who doesn't like being a woman. If she says she wants to be treated as a man, I'll call her 'he', but she doesn't get to be more than one person any more than I can be 'everyone' or 'nobody'.
Using 'they' instead of 'he' or 'she' is good English. It normally applies where the person's gender is not known or as here, given. In this particular case it does not denote multiple persons so 'agreement in number' as you call it does not apply.

A woman with apples - her apples.
A man with apples - his apples.
Two women or two men or a woman and a man both with apples - their apples.
Someone whose gender is not specified - their apples.
It's not difficult.
 

Yithian

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Using 'they' instead of 'he' or 'she' is good English. It normally applies where the person's gender is not known or as here, given. In this particular case it does not denote multiple persons so 'agreement in number' as you call it does not apply.

A woman with apples - her apples.
A man with apples - his apples.
Two women or two men or a woman and a man both with apples - their apples.
Someone whose gender is not specified - their apples.
It's not difficult.
Your explanation is not specific enough.

In English there are fixed situations in which we do not specify gender:

Agent Unknown:
The thief when caught will receive their punishment (although traditionally this would be 'his' regardless of the possible sex of the offender).

Agent Irrelevant:
Any student who forgets their P.E. kit will have to borrow the grotty one in the changing room.

There are no decontextualised statements of 'their apples'.

In this situation, the person's sex is known--it was a major strand of a high-profile court case; she should be given whichever singular pronoun she prefers or none should be used. Both are workable.

You argue the gender is not 'given' or 'specified'. I say that it should have been in this article as it is known. If people want to have words mean only what they personally intend, then speaking with and about them is going to be as frustrating as Alice found with Humpty Dumpty.
 

Yithian

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was there any loss of meaning in the article due to pronoun ?

(i havent read)
Only once: one paragraph said that 'They had lost their court case', which made me think a pressure group was involved.

Edit: on checking, I find that the BBC have re-edited the whole thing and used a name instead of 'they'!
 

stu neville

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Indeed.

Odd that it stood for three days before someone decided to kill it.
No. We gave you the opportunity to reconsider, given how overtly tone-deaf it was, in the vain hope that you had developed some self-awareness following discussions we've had. Clearly you haven't, so we did it for you.

Any repetition and the courtesy will not be extended.
 

Krepostnoi

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You argue the gender is not 'given' or 'specified'. I say that it should have been in this article as it is known.
My favourite example is: "There's someone at the door. They want to speak to you." Nothing wrong with that usage, even though the speaker presumably knows (or is prepared to ascribe) the gender of the caller. Anyway, how many of these here angels do you think could dance on the head of that there pin?
 

INT21

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No. We gave you the opportunity to reconsider, given how overtly tone-deaf it was, in the vain hope that you had developed some self-awareness following discussions we've had. Clearly you haven't, so we did it for you.

Any repetition and the courtesy will not be extended.
I would suggest that what you call my 'tone deaf' remark actually shows an overactive tendency to political correctness on your part.

However, as this is all rather subjective, and you have the power, then one must comply.

INT21.
 

EnolaGaia

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Merriam-Webster has designated "they" (used in the singular gender-less sense) as their 2019 word of the year.
Merriam-Webster declares ‘they’ its 2019 word of the year

The language mavens at Merriam-Webster have declared the personal pronoun their word of the year based on a 313% increase in look-ups on the company’s search site, Merriam-Webster.com, this year when compared with 2018.

“I have to say it’s surprising to me,” said Peter Sokolowski, a lexicographer and Merriam-Webster’s editor at large, ahead of Tuesday’s announcement. “It’s a word we all know and love. So many people were talking about this word.”

Sokolowski and his team monitor spikes in searches and “they” got an early start last January with the rise of model Oslo Grace on top fashion runways. The Northern Californian identifies as transgender nonbinary, walking in both men’s and women’s shows around the world.

Another look-up spike occurred in April, when U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, got emotional while talking of her gender-nonconforming child during a House committee hearing as she advocated for LGBTQ rights legislation.

Merriam-Webster recently added a new definition to its online dictionary to reflect use of “they” as relating to a person whose gender identity is nonbinary. In October, the American Psychological Association endorsed “they” as a singular third-person pronoun in its latest style guide for scholarly writing.

“We believe writers should try to use a person’s self-identified pronoun whenever feasible,” said Jasper Simons, chief publishing officer for the APA. “The singular ‘they’ is a way for writers to avoid making assumptions about gender when it is not known.”

The American Dialect Society, which is dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, named “they” its word of the year for 2015, in recognition of its emergence among people who reject “he” and “she.” ...
SOURCE: https://apnews.com/0b88fde3eeb023355fc2be0f8955a0b5
 
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