There's an interesting article in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine titled When Girls Will Be Boys about transgendered college students that's worth a read. Some of the more interesting point for me concerned the question of pronouns. According to the article, "some professors make sure to ask students to fill out slips indicating their preferred names and pronouns", and there has also been a growth of new word choice: "students will often use gender-neutral pronouns like 'ze' and 'hir'".
I know it goes against the English major in me, but I vastly prefer the plural they/them used in a singular reference than trying to keep track of which student identifies with which pronoun or inventing new ones like ze which to me sounds just silly (I remember back in college, pre-Albion, a push to call restaurant servers "waitrons"). I don't see how inventing a new rather ridiculous word is "more correct" than using a gender-neutral but incorrectly numbered pronoun. Language is fluid--people use it verbally all the time. Let's just go with that.
on Mon Mar 17 22:29:30 2008
I also felt odd about using "their" as a singular pronoun, but only until I read an article (similar to this one - and I can't figure out how to make the font size more normal) documenting Jane Austen's singular use of "their". Since she is clearly a much better writer than I, who am I to argue with her precedent?
I suppose that anyone who cares to disagree with her usage must figure out a work around of their own.
on Tue Mar 18 06:48:14 2008
W00t! The font size for the linked text is only abnormal in the text editing box.
on Tue Mar 18 06:49:18 2008
Yeah - I fiddled with the CSS and haven't got around to fixing it - I really ought to, oughtn't I?