Re: Changing our Language

Subject: Re: Changing our Language
From: Nancy McDonald-Kenworthy <McDonald-Kenwort -dot- 5 -at- OSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 1995 16:18:56 -0500

in reply to Susan W. Gallagher... who replied to David Fisher:

>>If you feel that your self-esteem is damaged by the use of the pronoun he, you
>>should seek counseling for your problem, not try to change a language
>>which has
>>failed to damage many intelligent, dynamic, and successful women.

>Sorry, David. I know you said not to flame you, but I gotta dry you
>off 'cause you're really all wet here!

>I have to admit, I'm one of those women who accepted the use of "he"
>in the generic sence and did not let it get in the way of my reading
>enjoyment or my self-esteem. However, that does not give my the
>license to use it in my writing in this day and age.

>Moral responsibility aside, it's my job to *communicate*. The
>communication process cannot be effective unless we consider all its
>aspects -- including the *noise* of preconceptions, bias, and all the
>other socio-political dandruff that lands on the written page. If I use
>"he" in its generic sense, I deliberately add unnecessary noise to the
>communication process, defeating all my efforts to communicate clearly
>and effectively. Why would I want to clutter my work that way?

>Academicians cannot "change" a living language, they can only document
>the changes. It is the people who use the language in its written and
>oral forms who change it. If I do not follow those changes, I do not
>communicate clearly to the audience that drives the changes.

>As a professional commuicator, I will continue to be a master of
>the language, not a slave to it -- tradition be damned.

>Sue Gallagher
Right on target, Sue!!! You've put my very thoughts down before I took the
time to reply to David, too. Language is such a liquid: moving, changing,
and only because the users make the moves. To be aware of how it works
makes us more obligated to use it fairly, and in this case, fairness
includes more than half of the population! PS. I like your metaphors,

Nancy A. McDonald, Freelance Writer, Editor, Desktop
Publisher, "retired" teacher
Athena's Pen... <McDonald-Kenwort -dot- 5 -at- osu -dot- edu>
52 Walhalla Road
Columbus, OH 43202

Previous by Author: Re: System Lifecycle Management methodology
Next by Author: Idiot editor with grammar expertise
Previous by Thread: Re[2]: Changing our Language
Next by Thread: Re: Changing our Language

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads