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Neopronouns: Non-gendered ways of referring to people

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Flora Syme

New Member
Neopronouns, also called new pronouns or invented pronouns, are recently coined pronouns designed to take the place of "he/him," "she/her" and "they/them." Their main purpose is to refer to someone without assuming gender. The attempt to introduce new pronouns into the English language has been around for hundreds of years, but has been largely unsuccessful. They've recently gained more popularity with the invention of websites like Tumblr and TikTok. There is a lot of debate surrounding them, however.

Arguments for neopronouns:

* There's no proper way to refer to someone gender-neutrally, as "he/him" and "she/her" are gendered, and "they/them" is ambiguous because it can be both singular and plural

* Neopronouns have been a thing since at least 1860, with "thon" (a portmanteau of "that" and "one") even being in dictionaries for a while

* Sweden managed to invent a neopronoun recently; "hen" is a way to refer to someone without gender

* Using people's preferred pronouns is respectful

Arguments against neopronouns:

* Pronouns are a closed class of words, meaning they can't readily accept new members or change existing ones, as opposed to open class words

* "Thon," or any other neopronoun, never caught on in standard English after even over a hundred years

* Sweden isn't exactly the best example country for sensible politics, given its many far-left-leaning policies

* Respect only goes so far; once someone is greatly inconvenienced, one could make the argument that one can put one's foot down

I see both sides to this debate, and I find linguistics fascinating. So, I'd be really interested to read people's takes on this.


To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before.
Staff member
Don't see this going anywhere good, other than to lead to arguments.
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