7 Things You Didn't Know About The History Of Pronouns And Gender

7 Things You Didn't Know About The History Of Pronouns And Gender

Sorry, Conservatives: Gender-Neutral Pronouns Are 800 Years Old
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Many have argued that the introduction of a singular nonbinary pronoun they is the invention of millennial special snowflakes. I have bad news for those people. The singular gender-nonspecific they has been around since the 13th century, and it was only as recently as the 1850s that it began, at the bidding of academics, to disappear.

1. Languages across the world acknowledge different genders for referring to people and objects.

The Niger-Congo language acknowledges 7- 10 genders.

While Indo-European languages classify words as masculine, feminine, and neuter, some Basque and Algonquin languages only differentiate animate and inanimate.

Out of 257 classified languages, 112 of them have some system of grammatical gender. That's 43% of those classified (there are more than 6,000 languages total).

2. In theory, gendered pronouns exist for grammatical efficiency.

Gendered pronouns sometimes help differentiate between speakers or objects in a sentence. But do we need gendered pronouns to do so? Linguist Gretchen McCulloch says no:

Algonquian languages actually have a particularly effective solution to this problem which doesn’t involve gender. Instead, they have two gender-nonspecific third-singular markers: one for whichever person is more central to the conversation, and the other for additional people that don’t matter as much, a system known as obviation.

3. English's root languages did not use our modern gendered system.

Historical linguists believe that Proto-Indo-European originally had two genders: animate and inanimate, but that this changed after the Hittite branch split off.

4. English is unusual in the way it genders words.

English doesn't gender every word grammatically beyond the meaning of nouns, but we are weird in one respect: we do lack a grammatical gender system. Gretchen McCulloch again:

It is quite weird cross-linguistically to lack a grammatical gender system and yet still encode natural gender on one tiny set of grammaticalized words, aka your pronouns.

5. Gender-neutral first-person pronouns have been around since the 13th century.

Singular "they" has been used since the 13th century. When Middle English evolved to stop using syntactical grammar, use of the plural third-person pronoun they was extended to the singular. You can see this in Chaucer, Caxton, and Shakespeare. It's not that revolutionary to use a plural pronoun for singular meaning after all, when you consider that the originally plural pronoun you evolved to extend to a singular you, replacing the now-extinct thou.

6. Gender-nonspecific use of 'he' was proposed by academics in the 1850s.

In the late 18th century, grammarians began insisting upon using he as a gender nonspecific pronoun rather than they, which was once again, they decided, relegated to the plural. This was met with pushback.

7. Alternative pronouns have been around since the 1850s.

Relegating "they" to the plural and replacing it with "he" obviously has patriarchal implications, and it was met with pushback by language reformers and gender activists alike. Many people, including nonbinary groups and academics, disagreed with the removal of a gender-neutral pronoun, and have been fighting back against it since the 1850s. These groups have introduced alternatives aiming to solve the problem for over 150 years, some of which never made it past the 1850s, such as heesh, or bun, bunself, while others have survived to be used by some groups that still exist today, such as xe, xir, xim, and ey, eir, em, but the most common surviving singular gender-neutral pronoun is the increasingly recognized they.

Cover Image Credit: Deviant Art

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28 Urban Slang Terms Every New Yorker Knows

It's dead ass mad brick out today.
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The New York City youth is greatly influenced by hip-hop culture, and hip-hop culture is continuously influenced by New York City. With the colorful expressions found in both hip-hop and the streets of New York, colorful language is inevitable. The truth is, you're not a real New Yorker if you've never heard these terms before.

1. Whack = (adj) used to describe something that is appalling in nature

"That's whack!"

2. Grill = (v) to stare, usually impolitely; to give a dirty look

"Dude stop grilling my girlfriend, I know her spray tan looks whack."

3. To front/Fronting = (v) to put on a façade; acting like you are something that you are not.

"Stop fronting like you own the place."

4. Cop = (v) to buy

"I'm about to cop some chips, you want some?"

5. Catch these hands = phrase used to initiate a fight

"If that girl keeps grilling me she can catch these hands."

Variations: throw these hands; throw hands; catch this fade

6. Crusty = (adj) used to describe someone who is dirty or trashy

"Girl, did you shower today? Your hair is looking all types of musty, dusty, and crusty."

Synonyms: musty; dusty

7. Lit = (adj) used to describe someone or something that is amazing in every sense

Variations: litty

8. Mad = (adv) very

"Stay away from her, bro. She has mad problems."

Synonyms: dumb; OD; stupid

9. Dumb = (adv) extremely

"This party is dumb lit."

Synonyms: mad; OD; stupid

10. Brick = (adj) very cold

"Damn, it's mad brick out."

11. Tight = (v) to be upset

"Stop running your fingers through my hair; you're getting me dumb tight."

12. Thirsty = (adj) desperate; (n) someone who is desperate

"I didn't tag you in my photo because I don't want any thirsties following you."

Variations: thirsties (n)

13. Buggin' = freaking out; acting up

"My mom just asked me to clean all the dishes even though it's not my turn. She's buggin."

Synonyms: wylin'/wildin'

14. Son = (n) a good friend

"Of course I know him, that's my son!"

Synonyms: B

15. B = (n) a good friend

"What's good, B?"

16. Sus = shady or false

*Short for "suspect" or "suspicious"

"That girl is mad sus for looking at me like that."

17. Dead ass = (adj) seriously

"You're dead ass getting me tight, B."

*Could also be used as follows:

"Dead ass?" = Are you serious?

"Dead ass!" = Yes.

18. Guap = (n) money

"Okay, this to all of my enemies that seeing me gettin' guap right now." -- Big Sean

Synonyms: Mulah; dough; casheesh

19. Grimey = (adj) used to describe a back-stabber

"I'm telling you, bro. He's mad grimey, don't trust him."

20. You woulda thought = a more exciting way to say "no"

"You woulda thought I was going to let you use my laptop to log on to your shady-ass websites."

21. OD/Ohdee/Odee = (adj) excessive; an abbreviation for "over-doing"

"Man, my professor just assigned OD work on BlackBoard."

Synonyms: mad; dumb

22. Wylin'/Wildin' = out of control

"That girl was wildin' last night when she threatened to throw hands at you for no reason."

Synonyms: buggin'

23. Facts = (adj) something that is rooted in truth

"That's a fact, B."

Synonyms: true

24. Snuff = (v) to punch

"I should've never threatened to throw hands. He straight up snuffed me in the throat."

Synonyms: rock

25. Wavy = (adj) used to describe something that is cool or nice

"I’m so wavy in the turbo Porsche, she so wavy in the new Mercedes" -- Ty Dolla $ign

Synonyms: dope, lit

26. Kicks = (n) sneakers

"Where'd you cop those kicks from?"

27. Beef = (n) having a fight or holding a grudge against another person or group of people

"Tommy told me you guys have beef."

28. Ice = (n) jewelry

"Ice on my neck cost me 10 times 3." -- D.R.A.M.

Variations: icy (adj)

Cover Image Credit: BKNPK

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Thank You To The Man Who Taught Me How To Be A Man

"Oh, almost forgot to do something, thank my father too. I actually learned a lot from you, you taught me what not to do." -Eminem

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Dear You,

Starting this off by saying "dear" feels disgustingly wrong. Nothing about you is dear, nothing you have ever done for me has been dear, expect you got me into Eminem at eight years old but let's be honest- that would have happened anyways. As far as the "you" part, you have no title in my life anymore, your name means nothing to me anymore nor does your previous title.

You have fucked me over more than anyone in my entire life. You've hurt me, pushed me down more times than I can count- but I've stood up one more time than each time you've pushed me down. You'll never see me succeed, nor will you meet my wife or our kids. This letter isn't to bash you, I'm over that because I'm better than you now and I realize that.

I want to thank you for the one thing you did do for me. You made me a man. I was raised on my Poppa's mindset- a house is controlled by God, a man, the wife, the kids, then everything else. I highly disagree with this now, but from age four you made me a man. My Poppa taught me that there was supposed to be a man and there was nobody else besides me and my momma so it was all up to me.

You know last week I refinished a cabinet all by myself? Sanded, stained, and sealed it all on my own. Now that's not a man's job but it's also not my momma's job because she works two to take care of me since we don't have anyone else besides Poppa and Grams. I was so proud of myself and I would have given anything for my Uncle Raymond to see it, he'd be so damn proud of me. Poppa sure as hell is. I didn't learn that from you, I taught myself how to do it. That was my second time ever staining anything, the first time was two weeks before that cabinet. Poppa is too sick to teach me things now and I don't expect him to do it, Uncle Raymond is gone- I'm the only man I've got.

I'm still not strong, I don't workout because I hate it tremendously. I can fix almost anything you put in front of me and I know more about cars than any girl I hang around (besides momma because she chased for so long). In 19 years I've learned how to hold my emotions in like a man because I had to be the strong one when you broke us. The only times are cry is when my girlfriend and I fight or I make momma cry, or if I'm really sick. I cried today too because I didn't get a job, I felt like a failure and I don't want to let momma down like others have in the past; including myself.

I still don't eat meat- not because I'm a "stuck up bitch". I don't drive a truck, but I want to so I can fit all of my things in it. I have a lot to say but not enough time or space to say it. I guess what I want to say is you forced me to become a man from the time I was four years old. I've always told people that I had to be the man of the house because we didn't have one. You don't make me want to be a man, you make me want to be a person and a damn good one. You make me want to be a partner to my wife, a loving one that provides. You make me want to be the best parent in the world- one that plays with Barbies and race cars (with the same damn kid).

You might not have done much, but you made me a man. A damn good man.

Best,

C

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