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5E Mearls' "Firing" tweet

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Elfcrusher

Explorer
Look dude, it's your site so you can say whatever you want--I understand that--but I have to take issue with your characterization. I am not arguing "against the human condition." People's humanity isn't a factor of their genders, their pronouns, or their grammar.


How about “the words used by others to describe them”?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It is neither. It has nothing to do with respect, which is earned and should not be assumed.
So, Mr. Grammarian, the OED (which you don't accept as a source for the singular "they", but whatever) includes the following definitions for "respect":

1) A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

2) Due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.

Now, unless you want to claim that your fellow human beings are supposed to get exactly zero regard for their feelings, wishes or rights, before "earning" that due, then a certain level of (2) is assumed, even if (1) is not.

But really, if you aren't going to allow the singular "they", I'd like to hear why you don't still use "thee" and "thou"...
 

epithet

Explorer
@epithet - to be honest, I find it hard to believe that you would think that this is a purely grammatical issue. It takes a special kind of myopia to look at gender roles in language and think, "Well, we'll ignore that massive cultural and historical baggage with this issue and focus entirely on the stuff that no one other than grammarians actually care about" and then stand back with wide eyed innocence when no one else wants to ignore the massive cultural and historical baggage.

I mean, do you honestly expect me to believe that you are that oblivious to to social and political ramifications of the discussion?
Clearly, a lot of people here care a great deal about that "cultural baggage," but it wasn't even a topic of conversation back when I was in English classes. Maybe if we focussed more on language as a means of clear communication and less on and exploring the way in which it is an expression of historical baggage, we'd all be better off. I'm not "oblivious to social and political ramifications," as you suggest, but I'm unwilling to give politics and social anxiety the pride of place that you seem to afford them. As dismissive as you seem to be about "stuff [only] grammarians actually care about," I think it's likely that most English speakers don't really give a damn about the perceived cultural baggage associated with the use of the basic pronouns as we learned them in school. I suspect most people just want to be clearly understood, and to clearly understand what's being said to them.

But, hey, what do I know? Apparently I'm a bad person. Fine.
 

epithet

Explorer
So, Mr. Grammarian, the OED (which you don't accept as a source for the singular "they", but whatever) includes the following definitions for "respect":

1) A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

2) Due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.

Now, unless you want to claim that your fellow human beings are supposed to get exactly zero regard for their feelings, wishes or rights, before "earning" that due, then a certain level of (2) is assumed, even if (1) is not.

But really, if you aren't going to allow the singular "they", I'd like to hear why you don't still use "thee" and "thou"...
I probably don't use "thee" and "thou" because (if I had to guess) they fell out of use centuries before I took my first English class. Same reason you don't use them.

On the matter of respect, "due regard" is a flexible standard. The regard your feelings are due varies widely based on the perception people have of you. For example, based on the list of quotes and mentions I seem to have accumulated over the weekend, my feelings are due very little regard on this forum thread at the moment.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Clearly, a lot of people here care a great deal about that "cultural baggage," but it wasn't even a topic of conversation back when I was in English classes. Maybe if we focussed more on language as a means of clear communication and less on and exploring the way in which it is an expression of historical baggage, we'd all be better off. I'm not "oblivious to social and political ramifications," as you suggest, but I'm unwilling to give politics and social anxiety the pride of place that you seem to afford them. As dismissive as you seem to be about "stuff [only] grammarians actually care about," I think it's likely that most English speakers don't really give a damn about the perceived cultural baggage associated with the use of the basic pronouns as we learned them in school. I suspect most people just want to be clearly understood, and to clearly understand what's being said to them.

But, hey, what do I know? Apparently I'm a bad person. Fine.
But ... do you? Do you really die on the hill of grammatical purity, or ... just in certain instances?

I mean, there are debates among "grammarians" that persist today about ending sentences with prepositions. Or use of passive voice. Or split infinitives (TO BOLDLY GO!).

It's not enough to say that a word might be a little confusing; see, for example, the prevalence of contronyms in English (cleave, sanction, garnish).

There isn't a standard for pronouns that never changes; I can't remember the last time I heard thine, but physician- heal thyself.

So it's unclear what, exactly, you are arguing for? Or against?

Well, it's clear what you are arguing against, but ... why? When, in the history of ever, has adherence to outdated prescriptive rules won out over freedom and dignity?

You realize that you're John Lithgow, and the world is Keven Bacon, and YOU CAN'T KEEP US FROM DANCING!* :)



*Dancing ... ON YOUR LAWN.
 

Bacon Bits

Explorer
Exactly. Arguing against the human condition because it bothers you *grammatically* does not say good things about you or your priorities.
I think that's pretty safe to say.

Though I still think it's likely that anyone who insists on neologisms for pronouns (ze/xe/ey/etc.) is likely to be disappointed. Simply put, I don't think that such language will be used often enough by a wide enough range of people to become accepted, and part of the the entire purpose of pronouns is to be able to refer to an anonymous or unfamiliar person. The fact that some people still have difficulty with just he/she/they just makes it seem so unlikely to ever take off. At the end of the day, most people aren't concerned with what another person's gender or gender identity actually is; they just want a word to use to designate them without using a name.

I also think it's a little overzealous or excessive to be outraged or insulted that a stranger misgenders you. I totally get why people who have less accepted gender identities get upset due to the social problems they face and personal struggles they've had, but it seems to me to be not far removed from getting someone's nationality or race wrong. Unless it was ill-intentioned, there needs to be some acceptance that strangers legitimately do not automatically know everything about you. 99% of people are cisgendered. It's not unreasonable for people to choose to be wrong 1 in every 100 meetings. ~5% of the population are homosexual, and people still assume that everyone they meet is straight until they learn otherwise. Nobody is doing themselves any favors by getting offended by honest mistakes or by assuming malice when error is a reasonable excuse.
 

Charlaquin

Explorer
based on the list of quotes and mentions I seem to have accumulated over the weekend, my feelings are due very little regard on this forum thread at the moment.
That tends to happen when one displays a lack of regard for the feelings of others.
 

epithet

Explorer
How about “the words used by others to describe them”?
The words you use to describe me have no bearing on my humanity, and vice versa. If I call you a pencil, or a keyboard (first things that my eye fell upon,) that says more about me that it does about you. It probably indicates I'm "off my meds."
 

epithet

Explorer
But ... do you? Do you really die on the hill of grammatical purity, or ... just in certain instances?

I mean, there are debates among "grammarians" that persist today about ending sentences with prepositions. Or use of passive voice. Or split infinitives (TO BOLDLY GO!).

It's not enough to say that a word might be a little confusing; see, for example, the prevalence of contronyms in English (cleave, sanction, garnish).

There isn't a standard for pronouns that never changes; I can't remember the last time I heard thine, but physician- heal thyself.

So it's unclear what, exactly, you are arguing for? Or against?

Well, it's clear what you are arguing against, but ... why? When, in the history of ever, has adherence to outdated prescriptive rules won out over freedom and dignity?

You realize that you're John Lithgow, and the world is Keven Bacon, and YOU CAN'T KEEP US FROM DANCING!* :)



*Dancing ... ON YOUR LAWN.
No, I do not die on the hill of grammatical purity, even in "certain instances." This all began with me, thinking to participate in an ongoing conversation, saying (I'm paraphrasing) "You can be called whatever you want to, but 'they' is plural."

Then politics happened.
 

Gradine

Archivist
I also think it's a little overzealous or excessive to be outraged or insulted that a stranger misgenders you. I totally get why people who have less accepted gender identities get upset due to the social problems they face and personal struggles they've had, but it seems to me to be not far removed from getting someone's nationality or race wrong.
That's an awfully presumptuous stance to take. In case anyone was wondering, getting mis-gendered hurts. A lot. I cannot even begin to explain how much it sucks to have a sense of self that is still so commonly unaccepted and denied in the world. Until and unless you can experience that I would highly recommend avoiding making presumptions on how one ought to react to situations the impact of which you haven't the foggiest idea about.

You're right in that 99% of the time it's an innocent or honest mistake; people I know and respect still get it wrong from time to time. It happens. Of course, 99% of trans folx understand that that's part of the process and we're actually quite patient with people who mean well. It's also really really obvious to us when people misgender us on purpose, usually because they're making it obvious on purpose. Other times, however, people will extend the illusion of providing us common courtesy while also making it very very obvious that they'd really prefer if people like us just didn't exist.

That sucks a lot too.

but I'm unwilling to give politics and social anxiety the pride of place that you seem to afford them... I think it's likely that most English speakers don't really give a damn about the perceived cultural baggage associated with the use of the basic pronouns...
Boy, that sure sounds nice.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I probably don't use "thee" and "thou" because (if I had to guess) they fell out of use centuries before I took my first English class. Same reason you don't use them.
I see.

Part of the point is that the singular "they" came about as part of the same language shift that took "thee" and "thou" out of the common lexicon.

But, whenever your classes were, you here recognize that language does change over time. It is then interesting that you do not seem to admit to anything *other* than what your classes told you - in the past, there was change, but between your classes and now? Apparently nope, not happening.

While you may say, "Well, just because they did it back in the day, doesn't make it correct," there's a paired, "Just because you had it in a class, doesn't mean it was 100% correct," to go along with it. My (and my wife's) biology classes in school taught "Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny", which is horse manure. Until the current generation, veterinarians were taught that animals could not feel pain. Schools a couple of decades ago taught that the C programming language was the most valuable thing a student could ever learn, and that "manifest destiny" was something more than just a way for people long ago to justify taking things from other people.

And, really, dismissing contemporary articles form the OED... not a good look for someone who may want to take a stance based on scholarship. True scholarship calls for continuous learning, not static stances, does it not?

On the matter of respect, "due regard" is a flexible standard.
Yep. No claim otherwise was made. We don't need it to be objective - we merely ought to note that, in fact, unless we are sociopaths, we do assume some very basic levels of respect for our fellow human beings.
 

Psyzhran2357

Villager
Still waiting for the APA and MLA references if you have the style guides at home [MENTION=6796566]epithet[/MENTION] . Wonder how Chicago does it differently than them.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Then politics happened.
With respect (see what I did there? :) )...

I'm going to push back on that. Politics didn't happen. Some folks have figured out that we should give people enough respect to give them space to be who they are. Folks who think being respectful of others is "politics" ought to re-examine that position.
 
The words you use to describe me have no bearing on my humanity, and vice versa. If I call you a pencil, or a keyboard (first things that my eye fell upon,) that says more about me that it does about you.
I would like to encourage you to google the term "dehumanizing language", then re-read this post and think about what it says about you.

No, I do not die on the hill of grammatical purity, even in "certain instances." This all began with me, thinking to participate in an ongoing conversation, saying (I'm paraphrasing) "You can be called whatever you want to, but 'they' is plural."

Then politics happened.
The conversation about "they" being single vs. plural literally started as a post about using plural pronouns to respect people's gender identities. https://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?612311-Mearls-quot-Firing-quot-tweet&p=7626962&viewfull=1#post7626962 Jumping into that to share your opinion then getting preachy at others being too "political" about it is like buying a house next to an airport and then complaining about all the planes.
 

Lanefan

Hero
You forgot to mention the "BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOONS!"
Says the Canucks fan:

I'm proud to say I've never yet put anyone on ignore in here, but much more of that kind of talk and my unblemished record might have to gather a stain*.












* - just kiddin' :)
 

Xeviat

Explorer
With respect (see what I did there? :) )...

I'm going to push back on that. Politics didn't happen. Some folks have figured out that we should give people enough respect to give them space to be who they are. Folks who think being respectful of others is "politics" ought to re-examine that position.

Sometimes I wish I could go back into that magical world where talking about people's well being was just "politics". When I could have a "healthy debate" about the value of people, and how everything would be better if everyone just thought how I did.

Sorry epithet, language evolves. It's kind of "cool" how the use of words "evolve" to fit casual usage.

Since I don't see you writing in old or middle English, I think your opposition to singular "they" is about something other than language.

Back in college, I had a professor who ranted about my using they when when the subject was unknown, and that was before non-binary persons were more known. I just did it because "he or she" was linguistically clunky. At the time, I didn't know it was disrespectful to certain persons.

Add me to the growing list of trans or non-binary people telling you that you have no idea how we feel, and the best thing to do when marginalized people talk about their experiences is to listen and learn.

I can't believe this thread is still going.
 
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