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#4394 08/04/00 03:48 AM
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tsuwm Offline OP
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"See the Army member. See their gun. They go to war. They shoot their gun. They get extra pay. The extra pay is $10 a day. The extra pay starts on the first day of the month."

>Really when you get used to it, it doesn't seem cumbersome, and quickly assumes the "transparency" which good plain writing should have.<

in my opinion the only thing transparent about this rewrite is its overweening political correctness -- to put it in simpler terms, I don't think I'll quickly get used to it. (for me, make member and gun plural and it reads better.)

by the way, regarding combat pay, doesn't the U.S. military still have a policy of not sending women into combat?



#4395 08/04/00 11:30 AM
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>I disagree; the use of -os to describe a group is not in and of itself sexist. That's an evil fiction that has been visited upon us by people who are just too darned sensitive for their own good
>It's time, my friends, to reclaim our language from the clutches of those who would gut it to the point of absurdity

Well, it seems that you consider sexist what is offensive or discriminative. In this case can I agree with you. Nobody is willingly discriminating anyone ONLY by using language in a way that, after all, is the correct way to use it.
The reality is that I have always thought like you, that we have a language that is our heritage and, even if in its origins some uses have been developed out of a disregard to women as equals, now we use them out of custom and because it is the way it is. I also dislike radical feminist and PCist.
But I cannot help but wondering that, being part of the unoffended group, it is too easy for me forgiving everything, making tabula rasa and saying “Now that we’re modern and equal, let’s start playing nice”.
I also wonder that, if it is fair for a group to have “the clouds”, will they ever get them if they don’t ask for “the moon”. How many rights that we have now have been won after by radical movements asking for utopian ones?.
I doubt, therefore I am.


Juan Maria.

#4396 08/04/00 11:36 AM
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>we have lots of time to think about such things and of course in our context they are well worth thinking about. in some future time - as in some past time - our worries may be forgotten in the search for water that doesn't give us all some syndrome.

I sadly agree with you about this. In a “Mad Max” world this discussion would be like wondering about angels’ gender.


Juan Maria.

#4397 08/04/00 02:42 PM
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<in my opinion the only thing transparent about this rewrite is its overweening political correctness -- to put it in simpler terms, I don't think I'll quickly get used to it. (for me, make member and gun plural and it reads better.)>

I think we're all agreed that as the language currently stands there is no ideal answer.

He/she, he/she and (s)he are all inelegant; the simple "he" and cognate forms ignore and render invisible 52% of the population. Alternate he and she forms are incredibly distracting. None of these can survive in the long term. Nor do ordinary users of the language recast sentences as a purist would have them do.

Logicallly only the "they" 3rd person singular alternative form can endure. Shouldn't we all just embrace it now??


#4398 08/04/00 03:28 PM
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the army member goes to war, shoots the gun and gets extra pay.

this is how i would write it (in the interim before "they" and "their" come to sound smooth).
but the things i write may be much more flexible.


#4399 08/04/00 04:39 PM
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tsuwm Offline OP
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I'm going to ask this one more time, as it keeps getting glossed over. Why not stick to his and her, skip the artificiality of alternating them, and just use the author's or speaker's gender as the referent. This is natural, simple and could easily be engendered (no pun) in school so that everyone would simply utilize his natural personal pronoun without all of this agonizing.


#4400 08/04/00 10:58 PM
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>why not stick to his and her

the simple answer is that so many people obviously want a change. they feel that "his" and "her" are gender specific and so exclusive. why be exclusive if you can be inclusive?


>use the speaker's gender as the referent

i don't follow why using "his" if you're male and "her" if you're female is natural, if you're not writing about yourself.
this seems to confuse things more. what if you don't want to indicate your gender? what if you're somewhere in between genders? what if there's more than one writer?

i think the sound of "their" needs time for our ears to get used to it. but they surely will. stravinsky was once considered agonising.


#4401 08/05/00 04:26 AM
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tsuwm Offline OP
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>i don't follow why using "his" if you're male and "her" if you're female is natural, if you're not writing about yourself. this seems to confuse things more.

why are you taking this usage literally when you want to ignore the natural "pluralness" of they? I'm just suggesting a different convention.

>stravinsky was once considered agonising.

some still so consider him. how do you feel about John Cage?



#4402 08/05/00 02:58 PM
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How about we propose a compromise. People should be welcome to write in a way that sounds right to them.

You can use the convention of writing using the gender of the author and it will irritate some of us.

Some of us, who seem to find it less of a problem, can use the convention "they" and it will irritate you.

After 50 years we can come back and review it and see which one was more widely accepted.

In the meantime some one can get busy re-writing Jane Austin's books, Frankenstein and a few others using "she" instead of "he" where the gender was not specified. Not to mention a few others like PD James, AS Byatt and JK Rowling who have preferred write their first books whilst choosing not to let readers be influenced by knowing whether they were male or female.

It's not like 2+2 (to the base 10), there is never going to be a simple answer. If we stick to the Darwinian theory of words - survival of the fittest - only time will tell.


#4403 08/05/00 07:02 PM
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tsuwm,
the pluralness of "they" and "their" really sticks doesn't it!
i may (!) understand:
when it follows a non specified person (as in "everyone can choose their own hairstyle"), it reads fine to me. but when it is specific (as in "the soldier fires their gun") it sounds strange.
i know "they" and "their" are not perfect answers.

"they" doesn't always sound naturally plural to me. i'm hoping it can stretch to cover singular as well.
tsuwm, is it really such a horrendous stretch?
in both cases i mentioned above?

i really think your suggested convention won't catch on. i don't like the idea of referring to everyone as "he" or "she". i won't do it. it feels worse than a "misused" plural.

i'm sure there are unfans of my friend stravinsky.
my point is that a dissonance can become an emotion in a few years.
that the more you wonder about silence, the more you wonder at the composer's genius in setting it aside.



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