Thread: He, She...

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  1. #81
    Elemental Lord Noomz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Zeus View Post
    Hello

    Is there some kind of English word that describes a person by its gender but you don't want to say the gender of the person? This may sound confusing, so let me explain it!

    In Sweden we got a word called "Hen", which basiaclly means he or she. It could be either of them, but the writer doesn't want to tell the reader what, maybe because of various reasons (for example that the gender of the person doesn't matter etc, etc...)

    Here's an example that I will write in Swedish then translate it to English.

    "Hen öppnade dörren med en nyckel"
    "... opened the door with a key"

    Also when you search for a job in some companies, they want you to define yourself as an individual with han, hon or hen.

    Han = He
    Hon = She
    Hen = ?

    Tell me if you still don't understand and I'll try to explain it for you
    This "hen" thing that's going on in Sweden is fucking ridiculous. Political correctness and idiotic Leftwing rubbish.

    Sorry for the harsh wording but it really is so damned stupid.

  2. #82
    Quote Originally Posted by Noomz View Post
    This "hen" thing that's going on in Sweden is fucking ridiculous. Political correctness and idiotic Leftwing rubbish.

    Sorry for the harsh wording but it really is so damned stupid.
    Not at all ridiculous; it has a firm foundation in indo-germanic roots.
    Also: It might be seen as political correctness, but you'll have to concede that the fact that we use pronouns for genders is pretty damned idiotic in the first place. Strictly speaking, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to even do so. There's some languages that don't even háve male/female pronounce. They make do with 'living' and 'objects.' Works fine, and is much more logical than having to mention a person's genitals every single time you point at them. Because that's what it is, really.

    "How do you feel about those pair of ovaries right there?"
    "Well; I don't know... I think that pair of testes would do a better job."
    Alternative:
    "That cock right there has the right idea."
    "Yeah but tits over yonder makes a fair point."

    Neither of these examples would be regarded as polite, yet, by using gender-specific pronouns, that is exactly what we say. Our conversations are riddled with profanity; we merely choose to ignore it.

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stir View Post
    Not at all ridiculous; it has a firm foundation in indo-germanic roots.
    Also: It might be seen as political correctness, but you'll have to concede that the fact that we use pronouns for genders is pretty damned idiotic in the first place. Strictly speaking, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to even do so. There's some languages that don't even háve male/female pronounce. They make do with 'living' and 'objects.' Works fine, and is much more logical than having to mention a person's genitals every single time you point at them. Because that's what it is, really.

    "How do you feel about those pair of ovaries right there?"
    "Well; I don't know... I think that pair of testes would do a better job."
    Alternative:
    "That cock right there has the right idea."
    "Yeah but tits over yonder makes a fair point."

    Neither of these examples would be regarded as polite, yet, by using gender-specific pronouns, that is exactly what we say. Our conversations are riddled with profanity; we merely choose to ignore it.
    It's easy to make arguments by using your logic. You have to be a weird individual in order to bellieve that No-sense.

  4. #84
    I am Murloc! Garnier Fructis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stir View Post
    Neither of these examples would be regarded as polite, yet, by using gender-specific pronouns, that is exactly what we say. Our conversations are riddled with profanity; we merely choose to ignore it.
    I might be reading this wrong, but are you implying that the use of gender pronouns is equivalent to the use of profanity?
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  5. #85
    Use "they" for a person with undisclosed gender/sex.

    ---------- Post added 2013-01-09 at 12:28 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Noomz View Post
    This "hen" thing that's going on in Sweden is fucking ridiculous. Political correctness and idiotic Leftwing rubbish.

    Sorry for the harsh wording but it really is so damned stupid.
    how is it PC...or leftwing...at all? it's just a question of linguistics

  6. #86
    Quote Originally Posted by Garnier Fructis View Post
    I might be reading this wrong, but are you implying that the use of gender pronouns is equivalent to the use of profanity?
    Yeah that's pretty much what he's saying. And no, I have no idea what kind of twisted reasoning might have brought him to that conclusion.
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    "I need to calm the elements, and through our sacred bond we will - wait, is that a fucking boss? I'M SO FUCKING ANGRY! I'M GOING TO KILL HIM! NO, WAIT! I'M GOING TO RAPE HIM THEN KILL HIM! WITH SPOONS! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGEEEEEEEEEEE!"

  7. #87
    To echo what has been said multiple times (and ignored at least as often), "they" is not an acceptable replacement for a singular pronoun. "He" is the appropriate pronoun when the gender is unknown.

    Using "they" inappropriately risks having hordes of rabid grammarists arriving at one's doorstep with pitchforks and torches.

  8. #88
    Quote Originally Posted by Clash Perez View Post
    To echo what has been said multiple times (and ignored at least as often), "they" is not an acceptable replacement for a singular pronoun. "He" is the appropriate pronoun when the gender is unknown.

    Using "they" inappropriately risks having hordes of rabid grammarists arriving at one's doorstep with pitchforks and torches.
    Rabid, but not necessarily correct. http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=89 discusses the subject... of particular note:

    "Avoid singular they if you want to; nobody is making you use it. But don't ever think that it is new (it goes back to early English centuries ago), or that it is illogical (there is no logical conflict between being syntactically singular and semantically plural), or that it is ungrammatical (it is used by the finest writers who ever used English, writers who uncontroversially knew what they were doing)."

    Besides, while I believe that rules and grammar are important, I don't believe that they are unchanging. Language evolves over time, and if people use "they" to refer to a single person, eventually it's going to become accepted.

    On the topic of grammar, a site I'm fond of, that has a list of common grammar myths, is here, link going to said list of grammar myths:http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com...mar-myths.aspx
    She does cover the topic of "they" used to refer to singular people (link: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com...l-pronoun.aspx), but doesn't come down solidly in favor of any particular solution. The one she favors is rewriting the sentence to avoid the pronoun if at all possible, followed by using "he or she" in formal writing, but she also comments that as more and more people use "they" in such situations, the rules of grammar will eventually begin to move in that direction as well.

    I avoid playing "Grammar Nazi" partially because the mods of the site don't believe that grammar has any importance or relevance, but partially because rules and usage do change over time (the final reason being that with some people, it's obvious that English is a second language, and I'm not going to correct their usage unless they're asking for help).


    Short version: I side with Grammar Girl. In formal writing, I'll re-write sentences to avoid the use of pronouns or use "him/her" or "him or her", but in any other context (including forums, which are most definitely not formal writing), I use "they" as a singular pronoun in situations where gender is unknown.

  9. #89
    He
    She
    They
    It(a bit rude to refer to a person as this)
    *their name*

  10. #90
    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Zeus View Post
    Hello

    Is there some kind of English word that describes a person by its gender but you don't want to say the gender of the person? This may sound confusing, so let me explain it!

    In Sweden we got a word called "Hen", which basiaclly means he or she. It could be either of them, but the writer doesn't want to tell the reader what, maybe because of various reasons (for example that the gender of the person doesn't matter etc, etc...)

    Here's an example that I will write in Swedish then translate it to English.

    "Hen öppnade dörren med en nyckel"
    "... opened the door with a key"

    Also when you search for a job in some companies, they want you to define yourself as an individual with han, hon or hen.

    Han = He
    Hon = She
    Hen = ?

    Tell me if you still don't understand and I'll try to explain it for you
    I understand what you're referring to. German has what you're talking about.

    English does too. That word is "it". It is, however, extremely insulting to refer to someone as "it". At least in America.

  11. #91
    Old God Grizzly Willy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laize View Post
    I understand what you're referring to. German has what you're talking about.

    English does too. That word is "it". It is, however, extremely insulting to refer to someone as "it". At least in America.
    Which is why "it" doesn't count. It's not accepted, so he shouldn't use it.

  12. #92
    Herald of the Titans RicardoZ's Avatar
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    You can use the plural "they" if you don't want to be gender specific, also you can use "somebody" or "someone".

  13. #93
    Quote Originally Posted by ichime View Post
    Yeah that's pretty much what he's saying. And no, I have no idea what kind of twisted reasoning might have brought him to that conclusion.
    Twisted logic:
    By using gender-specific pronouns, you are describing a person not as a person, but as their genitalia. If you were, for instance, to say 'he,' then what you are saying is 'that person over their whose defining attribute is their ability to produce sperm.'

  14. #94
    I ABHOR the use of "they" for ambiguity. "They" is a plural pronoun. "He" and "she" are singular pronouns. You would not swap "Chevrolet" or "Ford" for "cars," you would use "car." For example, someone might say "I like your new Camaro." If a person does not know the model of the car, the person would not say "I like your new cars."

    I believe that it is some kind of oversight that occurred in the English language to have no singular pronoun to offer ambiguity, but since this was started as a patriarchal society, I always go with "he" when there is an issue of ambiguity. I will occasionally use "he or she," but that can cause wordiness at times.

  15. #95
    Stood in the Fire Eggers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rukentuts View Post
    his/her

    Otherwise you can try using 'they'.
    This is the droid you're looking for. I mean answer.
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    Anyway, their egos, or "epeens" (electronic penises) aside, here are a few links that may help:

  16. #96
    Quote Originally Posted by Krystal View Post
    A good example for use of a pronoun that could refer to a guy or a girl are the Wow tooltips.

    "Icebound Fortitude - The Death Knight freezes HER blood to become immune to Stun effects and reduces all damage taken by 20% for 12 sec."

    Blizz has it set up to switch between "her" and "his" depending on the player, but if they were somehow unable to do it, a pronoun meaning either his/her would've been appropriate. I've seen many instances where such a pronoun would be useful, and I'm surprised that we don't have an official word for it. I personally use "they" if it's casually used or "one" "one's" if it's in a formal report.
    Or you just cut out the pronouns. "Icebound Fortitude - The Death Knight's blood freezes becoming immune to Stun effects and reducing all damage taken by 20% for 12 sec."

    In English the least awkward way of talking about someone without using their gender is to use the word "person."

    A person opened the door. Its not a pronoun but its gender neutral like the word in the OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomatketchup View Post
    His/her, that's really your only alternative, or you could just alter between he or she, that seems to work too.
    His and Her are possessive forms of he and she. They are not interchangeable.
    Last edited by Prokne; 2013-01-09 at 05:48 AM.

  17. #97
    Quote Originally Posted by Prokne View Post
    His and Her are possessive forms of he and she. They are not interchangeable.
    Yes, my bad, I meant he/she.
    I'm a European federalist. Now you know.


  18. #98
    Quote Originally Posted by MasterHamster View Post
    "Hen" is just gender-neutral bullshit by those who think gender is merely a social construct
    He he he no. It makes perfect sense to have a pronoun for someone whose gender is unknown in the situation.

  19. #99
    Bloodsail Admiral KunkkaTheAdmiral's Avatar
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    I guess most countries dont have that in the own language.

    In germany we have "es" but it's like saying "it" in english to a person, its rude and should be used for animals and objects.

    But I do like the idea ! if the gender is unknown you could use that to describe the person, thats pretty neat.
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