Not the Onion

Vancouver school board introduces gender-neutral pronouns for the exquisitely PC Student

No.  Really.

Students and teachers in Vancouver, British Columbia, can now use the gender-neutral pronouns “xe,” “xem,” and “xyr.” The move is designed to accommodate students for whom “he” and “she” does not fit or is deemed inappropriate.

It was for such an hour as this that Kathy Shaidle was born.

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  • Hematite

    Why not just just say “it”?

    • JJG

      Because deeply confused people are still people, and in English the neuter pronoun connotes objects.

      It’s different in German, for example. The grammar rule is diminutives, which are formed by adding -lein or -chen to the root word, are always neuter. So you have _das_ Mädchen (neuter) for “girl”, and _das_ Fräulein (neuter) for “unmarried young woman”, but _die_ Frau (feminine) for “married or older woman”. Objects in German have gender, and may be referred to by the corresponding pronoun. For example: “Der Zug kommt um neun Uhr zwanzig an, und fünf Minuten spatter fährt er wieder ab.” (The train arrives at 9:20, and five minutes later it [he] departs.) Because “Zug” is masculine.
      Still, I wish the perfectly good English grammar rule of using the masculine pronoun “he” as the default when gender is indeterminate were being used here, rather than some hokey attempt to invent a set of neuter personal pronouns.

      • JJG

        Sorry “spatter” should be “später”. Autocorrect is not always our friend.

        • The Next to Last Samurai

          I kind of liked “spatter.”. Sounded like the train drove over a watermelon someone absentmindedly left on the track.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Except that “feminists” will protest and claim that using “he” is a sign of male superiority…

        • JJG

          And they’d be wrong, so there’s no need to allow them to manipulate the situation.

      • PalaceGuard

        There is good precedence, however. For example, when there is a knock at the door, the question is,’Who is it?” To which the response is, “It’s me!”

        • JJG

          I’m sorry, but I don’t think those examples actually support your point. In both of them, “it” is used as an indeterminate subject, but the _pronouns_, which is what we were talking about, are “who” and “me” (should be “I”, nominative case).

          There’s a parallel in German with the common expression “Wie geht es Ihnen?” (“How goes it [with] you [plural]?”). Colloquially, this gets abbreviated as “Wie geht’s?” (“How’s it going?”), in which the pronoun is dropped entirely in both languages. BTW, I’ve been making these comparisons with German because English is a Germanic, rather than a Romance language, though it’s had a sort of Latin grammar imposed on it.

    • bear

      The pronoun the PC crowd really want to get rid of is “he”. If they were honest, they would just replace “he” with “it”. They should then make the gender neutral pronoun “she/it” and pronounce it accordingly.

      (i sort of stole that from PJ O’Rourke.)

    • petey

      when i started schoolteaching i read a book about schoolteaching written by a woman schoolteacher. in it, she used ‘she’ ‘her’ and ‘hers’ as the neutral pronouns, and it felt natural to read. so why won’t women just use feminine pronouns and men masculine pronouns, which are available and rational, instead of colonizing others for ideological reasons? (yes i know the question answers itself.) i’ve never heard anything so heebyjeeby as when men use the feminine as the neutral. except maybe this rubbish above.

      this isn’t a new idea btw:
      http://www.english.illinois.edu/-people-/faculty/debaron/essays/epicene.htm

  • Nesrad

    Meanwhile in Quebec the government is thinking about abolishing homeschooling.

  • bob

    25. Abba Anthony said, “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, ‘You are mad, you are not like us.'”
    St. Anthony just gets more right every day. A rubber bracelet or t shirt with this printed on it might be appropriate.

  • http://www.FiveFeetOfFury.com/ Kathy Shaidle

    Speaking of Vancouver: This city council has voted to ban Christians from using city-owned facilities such as the convention centre.

    Luckily, Ezra Levant is on the case:
    http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/straighttalk/archives/2014/06/20140624-071845.html

    In other words, this will end badly. For the city council… You don’t want Ezra mad at you:

    http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/3618031034001

    • Barbara

      Nanaimo, not Vancouver. Nanaimo is about 40 kms away, and has a population of about 70,000. The fact that Nanaimo is essentially a backwater on Vancouver Island whose city council decided that it had the cheek to turn down a world-class event just makes the whole thing laughable. That’s okay, we don’t need no stinkin tourist dollars anyway

  • bear

    Vancouver. It just had to be Vancouver.

  • David J. White

    They should then make the gender neutral pronoun “she/it” and pronounce it accordingly.

    How about, “He or she or it”, pronounced “h’or’sh’it”?

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      Exactly! You’re a pro.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    This really isn’t about grammar. This is about the attempt to eradicate any concept of gender from society.

    • Mariana Baca

      Actually, it has to do with transgender individuals in this instance, not about calling ordinary folks by gender neutral pronouns.

  • Dave G.

    My wife worked for an educational publisher. They had plenty of restrictions on language choices that foreshadowed this. My favorites were calling the US Founding Fathers simply the Founders. That was a rule. And my favorite: don’t say Jack o lantern. Say Halloween lantern. Jack being gender exclusive. That was only a suggestion, but still.

    • bpmfzf@umsl.edu

      Ah, yes. I fondly remember, as a child, being interested in the carving, rather than handling the sticky innards, of the crib-flipping Halloween LANTERN!

      Pardon my indecency, but MORONS! WE’RE SURROUNDED BY MORONS!

      How does one debate with someone who changes the language itself to suit his pet nonsense theories? He’s a liar from the inside out. I have only one suggestion. See how I used ‘his’ as the possessive pronoun for ‘someone’? I’ll do it like that. I’m going to defiantly speak English correctly.

      … and ‘MORONS’.

      • PalaceGuard

        OTOH, perhaps the next wave of linguistic adolescent rebellion will be, rather than emulating the guttersnipes of the entertain industry, to begin speaking proper English.

    • PalaceGuard

      So, if I get a flat tire out in the middle of nowhere, what the heck am I supposed to use to raise the wheel up off the road so I can change it?

  • Hunk Hondo

    Pardon the indelicacy, but this school board is full of xit.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    Just think. If we abolish gender-specific pronouns we too can have a society as free of sexism as Japan.

  • captcrisis

    You can make fun of it but you and I and everyone else has been gender-neutraling the language for some time. The fact that there is no neutral reference to a singular person is a in fact a problem. So nowadays instead of “chairman” or “chairwoman”, we say “chair”. Even liturgy has been gender neutralized to some extent. We no longer say “brothers” and “sons” to refer to both sexes, for example. It didn’t take me long to find this article at catholic.og:

    http://www.catholic.org.nz/news/fx-view-article.cfm?ctype=BSART&loadref=51&id=113

  • Francisco J Castellanos

    Why, oh why do they need to invent new English words when there are perfectly good Klingon words that can be adapted, such as “chaH” or “’oH” or “Hoch”? Personally, I think that these petaQ from the Vancouver school board are full of baktag.


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