Hen
Posted: 28 March 2018 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]
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There have been many discussions on the Swedish general-neutral pronoun, hen, pros and cons; but I am just interested in the origin of the word, which was apparently first mentioned by Swedish linguists in the mid-1960s. In 1994 the late linguist Hans Karlgren suggested adding hen as a new personal pronoun.

I’m assuming that the Swedish language did not have a “gender-neutral” pronoun as we do in English. Does anyone have further information on this?  The link below offers an unbiased viewpoint on the word.

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/15916853/The-Swedish-pronoun-hen-how-and-why-it-is-and-isn-t-used

P.S.  If this subject was discussed in previous comments, just ignore and guide me to them.

[ Edited: 28 March 2018 09:02 PM by Logophile ]
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Posted: 28 March 2018 07:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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"I’m assuming that the Swedish language did not have a neutral pronoun as we do in English.”

Swedish DOES have a neuter pronoun, det. Just like the neuter English pronoun, it, det is not applied to people.

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Posted: 28 March 2018 08:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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OP Tipping - 28 March 2018 07:53 PM

“I’m assuming that the Swedish language did not have a neutral pronoun as we do in English.”

Swedish DOES have a neuter pronoun, det. Just like the neuter English pronoun, it, det is not applied to people.

I meant to write, gender-neutral pronoun, as in the English, they.

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Posted: 28 March 2018 10:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Logophile - 28 March 2018 08:59 PM

OP Tipping - 28 March 2018 07:53 PM
“I’m assuming that the Swedish language did not have a neutral pronoun as we do in English.”

Swedish DOES have a neuter pronoun, det. Just like the neuter English pronoun, it, det is not applied to people.

I meant to write, gender-neutral pronoun, as in the English, they.

Pardon me

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Posted: 28 March 2018 10:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Swedish and English are largely equivalent with respect to gender-neutral pronouns. In the singular, neither language has them: in the plural, both languages have them and both lack gender-specific plural pronouns. Regarding the origins of ‘hen’ , I have always assumed it is formed as a straightforward alternative to ‘han’ (he) and ‘hon’ (she).

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Posted: 29 March 2018 03:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Wiktionary says this. I have no idea how accurate it is:

Created as an alternative to hon (“she”) and han (“he”). The coining of the word has probably been influenced by the Finnish hän, a personal pronoun used about human beings and which does not specify gender (Finnish lacks grammatical gender entirely). Hen was suggested as early as 1966 in Swedish regional newspaper Upsala Nya Tidning and was proposed again in a 1994 article by linguist Hans Karlgren, but did not receive widespread attention until around 2010.

It adds this about usage:

Since around 2010 hen has seen increased usage, though it has not entered everyday language either in spoken or written form. It has been especially popular among activists for gender equality and adherents of queer theory, and with the transgender community. Publishers of manuals of style and the Swedish Language Council do not proscribe the usage of hen, but recommend the inflected forms hens as the possessive and hen over henom as the object.

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Posted: 29 March 2018 08:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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“...in the plural, both languages have them and both lack gender-specific plural pronouns.”

That was my question, prior to the introduction of the gender-neutral hen, what is the Swedish translation for the English pronoun they.? I was under the impression that they did not have one, and for this reason they are trying to introduce the gender-neutral hen.

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Posted: 30 March 2018 12:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hen is singular. Swedish for ‘they’ is ‘de’ (’them’ is ‘dem’), generally pronounced and often written ‘dom’.

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Posted: 30 March 2018 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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frma - 30 March 2018 12:16 AM

Hen is singular. Swedish for ‘they’ is ‘de’ (’them’ is ‘dem’), generally pronounced and often written ‘dom’.

A little confusing, but thank you.

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