Tag Archives: Language iz hard

Syntax For the Masses

MSN: During the registration process at Harvard University, students are now allowed to indicate which pronouns they use, with suggested gender-neutral options like “ze” or “they.” Harvard isn’t the first college to embrace gender-neutral pronouns, but it’s among a wave of major institutions that are widening their policies and pronouns

While reading the Star Trek New Frontier books, I found it interesting that when they encountered an asexual race that they changed the “common language” – aka English, thanks Gene! – to update their pronouns as s/he and hir, pronounced shi-he and heer respectively. I remember thinking that it must have been a painful habit for the authors to support that, knowing that there would never be a practical usage in common practice. Ya know, until we encountered an asexual race. Who would have thought they were simply forward thinking?

Of course, the larger question is how in the hell does Spanish adapt itself to be gender neutral, seeing as everything in the language reflects gender?