Re: Changing our Language

Subject: Re: Changing our Language
From: "Thomas E. Potter" <TPotter243 -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 1995 20:49:42 -0500

In a message dated 95-12-17 13:01:08 EST, taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET (Tim Altom)

>You're correct that populations change language, while academics record the
>changes. But changes never take place because of imposition from without, as
>you're trying to do. You imagine that if only you and every other writer
>simply switch to a sexless form of indeterminate, the language itself will
>creakingly follow suit, having no choice.

>But language doesn't bow to the preferences of writers, be they few or
>numerous. It changes only when the majority of its users agree with the
>writers. Writers have tried many times to change usage, only to have the
>vast milling multitudes pointedly ignore the improvements. The herd DOES
>endorse change that makes life and spelling easier: "gauge" is now spelled
>"gage" and "dialogue" is now "dialog," for example. But things simply deemed
>to be "good ideas" by a cadre of writers and/or editors are usually
>summarily dismissed and subsequently ignored. I'm afraid that a sexless
>indeterminant comes under that heading.

I enjoyed your appraisal of the fruitless effort to force sexless pronouns. I
think you are correct; however, I don't want to give up keeping the pressure
on to force the gradual changes you describe.

Tom Potter
Houston, TX
TPotter243 -at- aol -dot- com

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