Re: Gender Neutral Pronouns

From: James Higgins (
Date: Fri Mar 30 2001 - 22:27:06 MST

At 05:49 PM 3/30/2001 -0500, you wrote:
>At 1:48 PM -0500 3/30/01, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
>>James Higgins wrote:
>> > May very well be true, but 've' still sounds goofy. I hear more stupid
>>> comments about those pronouns than anything else in the papers when I
>>> suggest others read them. That indicates to me that they are a problem.
>>Now *that* has an impact on me. (Why? Usually, when I hear someone say
>>"Other people won't like X.", my response is "Take responsibility for your
>>own reactions; if you don't like X, say so." But if you're actually
>>*seeing* other people react badly...)
>Now, I've had totally different experiences. In fact, I've found that I
>have to point out the use of gender neutral pronouns for them to notice
>it. In fact, I've regularly used them in e-mails with one friend for
>several months now and only recently, when I brought up the issue, did she
>let me know that she hadn't even noticed! No one I know even seems to
>care when I do use them, they just read on and if I bring up the subject
>they are rather apathetic (the most response I've gotten was that the guy
>noticed what I was doing but quickly realized that they were pronouns and
>accepted it as something new that he just didn't know about).
>Here is another way to look at it. My mom has a Mac, but she didn't even
>notice when the Mac OS started using NeXT style scroll bars instead of
>regular scroll bars. When I brought it up, she said she had noticed that
>something was different and upon inspection realized what it was, but
>otherwise went on living her computer life. Such a change might seem like
>a big deal to those of us involved deeply in the issue, but the rest of
>the world isn't concerned at all. The average person just accepts what ve
>is given.

Wow, you must know a completely different lot of people than I do. The
people I know actually speak up when they don't understand something. And,
I do apologize, but I simply can't believe* that anyone could read this
without even noticing the use of the v pronouns. They stood out like a
sore thumb when I was first reading this stuff, so I went and found out
what they meant. But I still notice them, especially when trying to write
about it and I keep wondering if I'm using the correct spelling or whatever.

* One possible exception, if the people in question have extensively read
Vernor Vinge previously and are now accustomed to reading these pronouns,
then I could see them not paying attention to them.

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