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

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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6 Things You Should Know About The Woman Who Can't Stand Modern Feminism

Yes, she wants to be heard too.


2018 is sort of a trap for this woman. She believes in women with all of the fire inside of her, but it is hard for her to offer support when people are making fools of themselves and disguising it as feminism.

The fact of the matter is that women possess qualities that men don't and men possess qualities that women don't. That is natural. Plus, no one sees men parading the streets in penis costumes complaining that they don't get to carry their own fetus for nine months.

1. She really loves and values women.

She is incredibly proud to be a woman.

She knows the amount of power than a woman's presence alone can hold. She sees when a woman walks into a room and makes the whole place light up. She begs that you won't make her feel like a "lady hater" because she doesn't want to follow a trend that she doesn't agree with.

2. She wants equality, too

She has seen the fundamental issues in the corporate world, where women and men are not receiving equal pay.

She doesn't cheer on the businesses that don't see women and men as equivalents. But she does recognize that if she works her butt off, she can be as successful as she wants to.

3. She wears a bra.

While she knows the "I don't have to wear a bra for society" trend isn't a new one, but she doesn't quite get it. Like maybe she wants to wear a bra because it makes her feel better. Maybe she wears a bra because it is the normal things to do... And that's OK.

Maybe she wants to put wear a lacy bra and pretty makeup to feel girly on .a date night. She is confused by the women who claim to be "fighting for women," because sometimes they make her feel bad for expressing her ladyhood in a different way than them.

4. She hates creeps just as much as you do. .

Just because she isn't a feminist does not mean that she is cool with the gruesome reality that 1 in 5 women are sexually abused.

In fact, this makes her stomach turn inside out to think about. She knows and loves people who have been through such a tragedy and wants to put the terrible, creepy, sexually charged criminals behind bars just as bad as the next woman.

Remember that just because she isn't a feminist doesn't mean she thinks awful men can do whatever they want.

5. There is a reason she is ashamed of 2018's version of feminism.

She looks at women in history who have made a difference and is miserably blown away by modern feminism's performance.

Not only have women in the past won themselves the right to vote, but also the right to buy birth control and have credit cards in their names and EVEN saw marital rape become a criminal offense.

None of them dressed in vagina costumes to win anyone over though... Crazy, right?

6. She isn't going to dress in a lady parts costume to prove a point.

This leaves her speechless. It is like the women around her have absolutely lost their minds and their agendas, only lessening their own credibility.

"Mom, what are those ladies on TV dressed up as?"

"Ummm... it looks to me like they are pink taco's honey."

She loves who she is and she cherished what makes her different from the men around her. She doesn't want to compromise who she is as a woman just so she can be "equal with men."

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25 Things You Know All Too Well If You're From The South

Are you really southern if you don't like BBQ?


You may think that southern people only care about football. That could possibly be true, but you can't say that unless you've experienced living in the south first hand. There are many other things that make up a "southerner" rather than SEC football and sweet tea. If you've never been to one of the southern states, then you need to plan a trip.

1. You get the death stare if you don't say "yes ma'am or no sir"


3. You pull over on the highway when you see a funeral procession

4. Unsweet tea is for the Northern Folk

5. You can tell when someone "ain't from around here"

6. Shunnarah

7. There are only 2 seasons: Summer and Football

8. Krispy Kreme and BBQ are a delicacy 

9. You respect your elders.... well, you respect everybody or mama will whoop you

10. Pine trees are everywhere

11. Mosquitoes 

12. Snow shuts down the whole state. Even if its one inch

13. You go to church every Sunday

14. Everything is better with a monogram

15. Tornado warnings mean go outside and look for a funnel cloud. (but really. get to shelter)

16. Weddings are scheduled around football

17. Waffle House

18. Shorts and flip flops are the go to summer outfit (sometimes you can wear them in December!)

19. You say "thank you" when someone holds the door for you

20. And if you don't say "thank you", we will holler out "you're welcome"

21. Calling someone during a bowl game (Iron Bowl) is a sin

22. If you don't say "excuse me" we will holler "well excuse you"

23. Cornbread is a part of every meal

24. There is some sort of farm animal in your yard if they figure out how to escape

25. Almost every food is fried

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