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Epicene pronoun (was: French (was: Optimum number of symbols))

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Saturday, May 25, 2002, 17:26
At 11:48 am +0200 25/5/02, BP Jonsson wrote:
>Content-Type: text/plain; x-avg-checked=avg-ok-308969FA; charset=us-ascii; >format=flowed >Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit > >At 18:00 2002-05-24 -0400, Roger Mills wrote: > >> >...though there are extensive >> >discussions about creating third-person gender neutral pronouns for >>english, >> >like xe/xir, hey/hem/heir, and so forth. >> >>The one I really like was introduced (without success, of course) by Marge >>Piercy in her lovely novel "Woman at the Edge of Time"-- _per_, used for >>subject/object, _pers_ possessive. (< person, of course) > >The only alternative with some chance of success is, of course, _they_, >since it is strictly speaking not a neologism at all!
Not only with some chance of success - but is the normal one used in collquial English when pedants don't interfere. You are quite right that "it is strictly speaking not a neologism at all". It's been attested since the 19th century and is now well-entrenched. Ray. ======================================================= Speech is _poiesis_ and human linguistic articulation is centrally creative. GEORGE STEINER. =======================================================