[extropy-chat] Language Again

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Thu Dec 28 17:29:35 UTC 2006

Randall Randall wrote:

> On Dec 28, 2006, at 10:07 AM, Lee Corbin wrote:
>> The word "her" is still jarring because it necessarily
>> makes a political statement:  "I affirm that male
>> dominance has caused and is causing women to stay out
>> of certain professions because of the way these words
>> unconsciously affect their mental imagery, and so 
>> constrain what they will *do*." Whereas, when one
>> writes "The historian, after making careful inquiries,
>> usually finds that his data support..." chances are that
>> this will not flag the political parts of one's 
>> brain.
>> (Of course, I could be wrong:  it may be that people
>> under the age of 25 do not find the specific uses of
>> "her" and "she" in these instances at all jarring.
> I'm over 30, and don't find use of "her", "she", and so on 
> jarring, though I, myself, often prefer to use "they", and I 
> do still find that a bit jarring (!), because a part of me 
> wants to "correct" the grammar.

I find the use of the generic "her" with its political implication, or
"they" implying a plurality, both quite distracting.  I usually look for
a gender neutral rephrasing, either by avoiding the pronoun altogether
or using the (often stilted) "one".

As discussed earlier on this list, he will have even more practical
problems when we begin dealing with gender neutral entities such as AIs,
and I would much prefer moving on to something like ve and ver, but look
how little success Americans have had switching to something as
obviously and globally effective as the metric system.

- Jef

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