Re: : Korean Shamanism

Jessie Strader (jes22@COLUMBIA.EDU)
Mon, 6 Nov 1995 12:46:32 -0500

Regarding the plural properties of "their," I would like to quote the
Handbook of Nonsexist Writing (Harper & Row, 1980):

Present-day linguists, tracing the history of the so-called
generic 'he,' have found that it was invented and prescribed
by the [sixteenth and seventheeth century] grammarians themselves
in an attempt to change long-established English usage. The
object of the grammarians' intervention was the widespread
acceptance of 'they' as a singular pronoun, as in Lord Chesterfield's
remark (1979),

"If a person is born of a gloomy temper...they
cannot help it."

Nearly three centuries earlier, England's first printer,
William Caxton, had written,

"Each of them should...make themself ready."

and the invocation

"God send everyone their heart's desire"

is from Shakespeare.

....In 1850 an Act of Parliament gave official sanction
to the recently invented concept of the "generic" 'he.'

If anyone is interested in the rest of the argument for singular usage
of 'plural' pronouns, _they_ should check _their_ library for authors
Casey Miller & Kate Swift.

Jessie Strader
Columbia University
On Fri, 3 Nov 1995, hjmartin wrote:

> >On Nov 2, Ruby Rohrlich wrote:
> >
> >>Why "shamaness"? A shaman is a shaman is a shaman. If you want to
> >>distinguish a shaman by sex, use the word denoting sex, like "male" or
> >>"female". We no longer use poetess, authoress, etc., and never have used
> >>"doctoress." Ruby Rohrlich
> >
> >
> >Hurrah Ruby, I agree! Above applies to words like "mankind" as well.
> >
> >
> Now, if we could only agree that 'their' is a plural pronoun and takes a
> plural verb...
> What's more, if we could only agree that 's (apostrophe+s) indicates
> possession, not the plural...
> Finally, if we could all agree that 'And' should not be used to begin a
> sentence...
> Then what? Would the meaning of what I write be any clearer? Would the
> grammar police stop giving so many citations? Would my thinking pass
> inspection?
> Just a thought.
> Regards,
> Jim Martin
> --------------------------
> HJMartin
> 901 Pump Rd, 193
> Richmond, VA 23233
> (804) 740-0170 home
> (804) 786-5188 work
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