Re: Evolving language or laziness?

Subject: Re: Evolving language or laziness?
From: Tracy Boyington <trlyboyi -at- GENESIS -dot- ODVTE -dot- STATE -dot- OK -dot- US>
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 1996 08:34:20 +0000

Colleen Dancer wrote:
> >I don't consider myself an angry feminist, nor a particularly ardent one.
> >however I do find that I don't relate the pronoun His to me.

And Tim Alton wrote:
> Sorry, Colleen, but I'm always suspicious of a proposed change to a
> language's basic structure that's endured since at least the days of William
> the Conquerer and quite probably as far back as the birth of Christ. It's
> not because I'm male and feel superior. It's because I don't trust studied,
> deliberate attempts to change the way a language has developed of expressing
> a thought. It smacks of revisionism. Language evolves, and if English
> speakers eventually drop the indeterminate pronoun "he" or the indeterminate
> possessive "his" then so be it.

And I agree with both Colleen and Tim. Language *is* evolving, for
good reasons (such as the ones Colleen brought up), and we have no
control over it. People *are* using "them" where it wouldn't have
been appropriate before (i.e., to indicate gender neutrality). Who are we
to try and stop it?


Tracy Boyington
Technical Communication Specialist
Oklahoma Department of Vocational & Technical Education
Stillwater, Oklahoma

I never express opinions, but if one slips out, it belongs
to me and not ODVTE.

"I think I did pretty well, considering I started out
with nothing but a bunch of blank paper."
-- Steve Martin

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