Inclusive language redux

mike salovesh (T20MXS1@MVS.CSO.NIU.EDU)
Tue, 15 Nov 1994 00:42:00 CST

I believe in using language that doesn't exclude. (That's not quite
the same thing as inclusive language--but that's not my debate at the

Inventing new pronouns bothers me. Why do it, when there are
perfectly good ones around already? Him/her, or s/he, aren't what
we need either. As a writer, I suggest that whenever my sentence
structure seems to demand new pronouns or either/or slashes I've
written a bad sentence.

Just recast the sentence to use THEY, THEM, THEIR and appropriate
plural forms of verbs. "Students are expected to bring their
books to class" instead of "Each student is expected to bring
his/her book to class". Alternatively, recast the whole thing in
the second person: "You are expected to bring your book to class".

Somebody long ago, in Anthro Newsletter, pointed to the reductio ad
absurdum of either/or pronoun combinations: sooner or later they
will lead us to saying "she/it" about the whole business.

mike salovesh <SALOVESH@NIU.EDU>

=============== Original message follows ===========================

Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 22:31:29 +0500
From: Heather Young-Leslie <youngl@FHS.CSU.MCMASTER.CA>
Subject: Re: Inclusive Language
To: Multiple recipients of list ANTHRO-L

I tried to use s/he [pronounced shee-hee] and per [pronounced purr],
in place of him/her and pers for his/hers, short for 'person'.
I'd never heard or seen anyone using hir [I vote for pronouncing it heer].
No one seems to be happy using any alternatives to him/her
and their possesives. Is this something linguists can explain?
Also, is there an Esperanza word that could be used instead of
inventing another personal pronoun?
Heather Young-Leslie
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