The many shades of singular they

  There is a fair amount of literature on singular they and many authors have presented different usages of they. Below I present and discuss the different types of singular they I have come across both in literature and in ‘real life’ (the list may not be exclusive; the examples certainly are not). Generic singular … Continue reading The many shades of singular they

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Attitudes towards nonbinary pronouns

Earlier this week, I gave a presentation on 'attitudes towards nonbinary pronouns' at the Finnish Annual Conference in Linguistics. You can download my updated slides from this link. This was the second time I presented on nonbinary pronouns; last year, at the HELSLANG summer conference, I presented some preliminary results about the acceptability of nonbinary pronouns, … Continue reading Attitudes towards nonbinary pronouns

How inclusive are generic pronouns? (Part 5 preliminary results)

The purpose of part 5 was to find out how gender-inclusive generic pronominal references are viewed to be. In contrast to other parts of the survey, the dependent possessive pronouns (also called pronominal possessive determiners, or just possessive determiners) his, her, their, and his or her were used, mainly to avoid repeating the nominative personal … Continue reading How inclusive are generic pronouns? (Part 5 preliminary results)

Which generic pronouns are acceptable? (Part 3 preliminary results)

The purpose of part 3 was to see which generic pronouns the participants would view as ‘acceptable’, and which as ‘not acceptable’. ‘Acceptable’ was defined as something that the participants themselves would view as ‘natural or correct language use’[1] (in contrast to what a grammar book might find as ‘acceptable’). They, he, she, and he … Continue reading Which generic pronouns are acceptable? (Part 3 preliminary results)

Generic pronouns (Part 2 preliminary results)

Part 2 consisted of several ‘fill in the blank’ tasks, of which some were filler questions and the rest (9 tasks) were designed to elicit 3rd person singular generic pronouns (i.e. a pronoun could be filled in the blank). The fillers concentrated on preposition and article use, and different spelling variants (e.g. burned vs. burnt). … Continue reading Generic pronouns (Part 2 preliminary results)

Is a successful person a he, a she or a they? (Part 1 preliminary results)

In part 1, I asked the participants to describe in a few sentences what in their opinion is a successful person. The purpose of this task was to elicit generic 3rd person singular pronoun usage, i.e. to see which (3rd person singular) pronouns the participants would use to refer to an unknown, unspecific, generic person, … Continue reading Is a successful person a he, a she or a they? (Part 1 preliminary results)

What words and labels are used to describe gender?

  In the survey, I asked about the participants’ gender with an open-answer text box. There were no pre-labels, and everyone could type in what they wanted (an opportunity a few participants of course exploited for humorous purposes). The only thing I asked the participants to do besides filling in their gender was to indicate … Continue reading What words and labels are used to describe gender?