Re: OT: Latin subject-verb agreement
|From:||T. A. McLeay <conlang@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, December 13, 2007, 21:27|
Gary Shannon wrote:
> --- MorphemeAddict@WMCONNECT.COM wrote:
>> I once recently had a short discussion about using "they" as a singular
>> pronoun with an English (ESL) teacher, not his usual profession. He was
>> Chinese students to use "they" as a singular pronoun.
> Lately I've heard "they" used a lot as a gender-neutral replacement for "he",
> "she", or the awkward "he/she", or "he or she".
> E.g: "When a player is ready, he or she will serve the ball."
> Becomes: "When a player is ready, they will serve the ball."
In fact, this is not a "recent" phenomenon. It dates back hundred of
years to the early Middle English period. I would consider it a very
important part of the role of an ESL to be teaching something that's
lasted that long and is used by very many people to their students.
Likewise, it's worth noting that "aren't" could develop from "amn't" by
purely phonetic processes in non-rhotic dialects---the orthography, as
ever, misleads---and then be generalised to rhotic ones, much as
Americans put an /r/ in Burma and Myanmar that was never there before.