Re: Mixed Message

Subject: Re: Mixed Message
From: Stephen Victor <svictor -at- HOUSTON -dot- GEOQUEST -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 09:43:40 -0600

David Dvorkin wrote:

> And while we're at it, the ending -man really means -person, not a male,
> so the current silliness of substituting -person for -man has no
> linguistic justification, besides creating ugly neologisms.

That's what the whole issue of inclusive language is about: whether or
not -man (as in chairman) and the "generic" pronoun he/him/his refer to
a "person" or to a "man."

Proponents of inclusive language believe the terms are sexist, exlude
women, and should be changed to be inclusive. Opponents believe the
terms are inclusive already and no changes are needed.

You clearly fall into the latter group, and you are entitled to your
opinion, but calling inclusive language "silliness" isn't really a
constructive contribution to the discussion.

My opinion on the matter is that avoiding gender-specific references in
writing (without resorting to "ugly neologisms") is quite easy to do,
and if doing so could prevent offending some of my readers, why not do
it? It's no big deal.

Stephen P. Victor Phone: (713) 513-2552
Technical Writer, Software Training Fax: (713) 513-2019
Schlumberger GeoQuest svictor -at- houston -dot- geoquest -dot- slb -dot- com
5599 San Felipe, Suite 1700
Houston, Texas 77056 USA

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