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Re: [Czechlist] I don?t need this but I am just curious

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  • James Kirchner
    As others have already pointed out, this singular use of their predates Shakespeare, and it never died out in the spoken language. However, American
    Message 1 of 13 , Mar 20, 2013
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      As others have already pointed out, this singular use of "their" predates Shakespeare, and it never died out in the spoken language.

      However, American publishers generally do not accept it, although advertisers do. This is a surprise to some British authors, because it's accepted even in British academic publishing now.

      Also, many American professors don't accept it either. Once I told a nearly all-female group of university linguistics students to stop using "him/her" and just pick a pronoun. They were shocked, because I was the only professor they had who didn't insist on a male and a female pronoun joined by a hiccup. They were also grateful and thanked me. The funny part was that their other professors thought they were being progressive in insisting on "gender-neutral" pronoun use, but in my class, the most radical girls preferred to use "he" as a generic pronoun. One of them insisted, "'He' SOUNDS gender-neutral to me in those contexts!"

      Some American women try to be "gender-neutral" by alternating male and female pronouns. The problem is that they tend to assign the female pronouns to admirable characters and the male pronouns to evil ones, so they might write something like, "The most angelic, highest-achieving child in the class should be rewarded for her accomplishments. However, if there is a psychopathic killer in your class, he should be approached with care."

      Jamie

      On Mar 20, 2013, at 3:05 AM, Jan Culka wrote:

      > Can anybody explain this to me? It is in contradiction to everything I have been taught ....
      >
      > "A strong person knows how to keep their life in line."
      >
      > Is it a simple mistake, or is it normal use?'
      > Honza
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      > _______________________________________________
      > Czechlist mailing list
      > Czechlist@...
      > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist


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