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Posted: 29 December 2018 12:49 AM   [ Ignore ]
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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3747412/Princeton-orders-staff-stop-using-term-man-ban-gendered-words-make-college-inclusive.html

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/purdue-avoid-words-with-man-in-them/

IMO this has gone a little too far. I would think that there are too many words alluding to “manhood” to be avoided, such as macho, male, virile, paternal, masculine, father, patriarch, lord, master, mister, paterfamilias, husband, chap, bloke, fellow, dad, papa, ad infinitum. Should we also avoid gentleman?.

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Posted: 29 December 2018 03:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Do we also avoid the word woman?  And if so, what do we replace it with, woperson, person of gender?

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Posted: 29 December 2018 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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We knew that at some point this would happen, and has to some extent already begun. Personally, I think it is overdue, and do not understand why it has taken so long to come about. It will be a feeling out process that will take some time to perfect, but once we are there, folks will soon adjust.

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Posted: 29 December 2018 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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First these articles are rather old. The one about Princeton is from 2016. The one about Purdue is from February.

Second, the articles refer only to words with “man” in them. They do not refer to terms like father, mister, or masculine.

The Princeton policy applies to the human resources department. This makes sense. You don’t want to use potentially discriminatory language when it comes to personnel policies, hiring, firing, etc.

The Purdue article is about a writing manual. Virtually every writing manual in existence has a section on avoiding sexist language. (I would bet the style guide the National Review uses has exactly the same provisions.) I don’t see how this is even newsworthy.

As far as such terms being insignificant, that has been shown to not be the case. Certainly, individual uses of man or other sexist terms may pass unnoticed, but the continued repeated use has an insidious effect.

Finally, Timpf who wrote the Purdue piece, clearly knows nothing about language. The statement that “‘peoplekind’ is not a word” is a giveaway. Of course it’s a word. What else would it be?

[ Edited: 29 December 2018 11:38 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 29 December 2018 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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First these articles are rather old. The one about Princeton is from 2016. The one about Purdue is from February.

Regardless, it’s still a relevant issue today. It was a recent (yesterday) news item on television; therefore, I went online and found these two articles relating to the issue.

Second, the articles refer only to words with “man” in them. They do not refer to terms like father, mister, or masculine.

Dave, I addressed that in my comment. What follows suit? The avoidance of any term relating to manhood. I would think that Patriarch would certainly be a word offensive to proponents of gender-neutral expressions.

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Posted: 29 December 2018 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The objection is not to the word per se, but to using a masculine word to describe a generic person who could be of any gender. I can refer to my grandfather as the patriarch of my family, but it’s problematic to refer to an unspecified head-of-household as patriarch.

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Posted: 31 December 2018 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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What follows suit? The avoidance of any term relating to manhood.

No, it doesn’t. The advice in the style manual basically boils down to: don’t use gender-specific terms in contexts where gender is irrelevant.

In other words:

- Don’t write ‘mailman’ if what you actually mean is ‘a person of any sex who delivers mail’.

- If you need to hire people of either sex to fight fires, don’t say ‘We are recruiting firemen’. Don’t even say ‘We are recruiting firemen and firewomen’, unless there is to be a difference between the jobs the men and women will be employed to do. Just say ‘firefighters’ already.

- Don’t write ‘Managers and their wives’, for the very good reason that many managers have husbands.

- Oh yes, and don’t bother fannying around with repeated ‘he or she’, ‘his or her’ et cetera; just unclutter your sentence by using ‘they’ and ‘their’, just as Bishop Fisher, St Thomas More, Henry Fielding, Lord Chesterfield, Oliver Goldsmith, Walter Bagehot, Thackeray, Ruskin and Bernard Shaw would have done.

Now, was that so hard?

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Posted: 31 December 2018 02:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 31 December 2018 07:55 AM

What follows suit? The avoidance of any term relating to manhood.

No, it doesn’t. The advice in the style manual basically boils down to: don’t use gender-specific terms in contexts where gender is irrelevant.

In other words:

- Don’t write ‘mailman’ if what you actually mean is ‘a person of any sex who delivers mail’.

- If you need to hire people of either sex to fight fires, don’t say ‘We are recruiting firemen’. Don’t even say ‘We are recruiting firemen and firewomen’, unless there is to be a difference between the jobs the men and women will be employed to do. Just say ‘firefighters’ already.

- Don’t write ‘Managers and their wives’, for the very good reason that many managers have husbands.

- Oh yes, and don’t bother fannying around with repeated ‘he or she’, ‘his or her’ et cetera; just unclutter your sentence by using ‘they’ and ‘their’, just as Bishop Fisher, St Thomas More, Henry Fielding, Lord Chesterfield, Oliver Goldsmith, Walter Bagehot, Thackeray, Ruskin and Bernard Shaw would have done.

Now, was that so hard?

Actually, it is quite hard, especially for people who’ve been using the same gender identifying words for thirty-fifty years and then to try and come up with gender neutral expressions, and there are hundreds multiplying.  Also, the style manual is advising, of which I have no problem, but when language use is legislated then I do have a problem. Regarding the authors you mentioned their usage is grammar related and not related to gender-identity pronouns.

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Posted: 31 December 2018 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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First, no one is legislating language.

It’s not hard. You should be choosing your words with care in any case. And gender neutral language is easy to get the hang of. Like following any type of writing advice, it may require some conscious effort at first, but it quickly becomes second nature. We’re constantly changing and updating the way we write, usually without realizing we’re doing it. Use of gender-neutral language is no different.

And people rarely fault others for using gender-specific language in casual speech or writing. Minor grammar and punctuation flubs are common and expected in casual situations.

Regarding the authors you mentioned their usage is grammar related and not related to gender-identity pronouns.

I’m not sure what you mean here. They did use the gender-neutral, singular they. That’s the point.

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Posted: 31 December 2018 10:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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First, no one is legislating language.

Technically, it may not yet be legislation, but it might as well be. Furthermore, certain universities are mandating the use of man by telling employees to use words such as human beings, individuals or people.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/05/17/you-can-be-fined-for-not-calling-people-ze-or-hir-if-thats-the-pronoun-they-demand-

Regarding the authors you mentioned their usage is grammar related and not related to gender-identity pronouns.

I’m not sure what you mean here. They did use the gender-neutral, singular they. That’s the point.

I believe the point is related to gender-specific concerns; therefore, I don’t think those were the concerns from those authors mentioned in Laulu’s post.

[ Edited: 31 December 2018 10:42 PM by Logophile ]
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Posted: 01 January 2019 04:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Regarding the authors you mentioned their usage is grammar related and not related to gender-identity pronouns.

I’m not sure what you mean here. They did use the gender-neutral, singular they. That’s the point.

I believe the point is related to gender-specific concerns; therefore, I don’t think those were the concerns from those authors mentioned in Laulu’s post.

I wasn’t suggesting that they were.  My point was that the gender-neutral, singular they/their/them has been a natural construction in English since at least the fourteenth century; it’s not a wicked invented neologism. In fact it comes so naturally to English speakers that even highly-educated and careful writers continued to use it even after 18th-century grammarians condemned it as illogical, and postulated the rule - for ideological reasons, and contrary to all common sense and observable fact - that “man embraces woman, har har” and so he, him and his do, and should, include she, her and hers.

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Posted: 01 January 2019 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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This NYC legislation is about something else altogether. The law covers “discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing.” The rules regarding pronouns, titles, and names related to “intentional and repeated” use of an individual’s non-preferred terms such that it constitutes harassment in order to prevent them from taking a job, using a public facility, or renting an apartment. It does not relate to general use of any term or word. It only applies when referring to a specific individual in limited circumstances. (Basically the law prohibits one from being an abusive asshole in order to deny someone access to an accommodation they have every right to.)

The law has also been around since 2002. It’s not new.

Here is the full text of the city’s guidance on enforcing the law.

Willful distortion of the facts is what you get when you cite opinion pieces instead of factual articles. Eugene Volokh is a smart guy and a lawyer. He certainly knew that what he was saying in this Washington Post opinion piece was not true.

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Posted: 01 January 2019 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I wasn’t suggesting that they were.  My point was that the gender-neutral, singular they/their/them has been a natural construction in English since at least the fourteenth century; it’s not a wicked invented neologism.

I agree, and I agree with the construction. I’m just opposed to language being mandated or legislated and that was the issue in my OP

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Posted: 01 January 2019 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Willful distortion of the facts is what you get when you cite opinion pieces instead of factual articles. Eugene Volokh is a smart guy and a lawyer. He certainly knew that what he was saying in this Washington Post opinion piece was not true.

My only position here is that I’m opposed to mandating or legislating language. Regarding your assertion of a willful distortion of facts the factual city guidance laws put forward are the same that Volokh quoted in his piece. The fact that you disagree with his opinion does not invalidate his piece nor does it classify it as being untrue; as you said it’s an opinion piece. This thread can leak into a political argument, which I’d rather not get into. My opposition is only related to language.

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Posted: 01 January 2019 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Volokh wrote as if this were a general restriction on language. It’s not. It’s a very narrow and specific prohibition that is only tangentially related to language. It has more to do with housing and employment discrimination. Volokh ignores that context. He knows better and is distorting the truth to rile up a political constituency.

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Posted: 01 January 2019 05:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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This discussion inspired me to run “peoplekind” through genealogybank.com seeking its antiquity.  There is a use in a syndicated column from 1956 that is at least arguably intended to be humorous. 

Then there is a poem published in the Boston Herald of April 2, 1961, celebrating a street that is going to be demolished for a new highway.  The neighborhood is praised for its being multiracial.  The writer laments

“Our problem is to find
A street like this, where we can live with peoplekind”

The San Francisco Chronicle of June 20, 1975 has a letter to the editor about the Equal Rights Amendment, responding to a piece by Pat Buchanan, which includes this:

“Buchanan is sadly mistaken.  The ERA will be a great step in the advancement of peoplekind, and I’m glad he’s not on my school board.”

The earliest non-political use I find is from The Oregonian of December 28, 1975, in an article about the allure of owning a boat:

“The crowded boat shows each winter, also attest to the vestigial urge of peoplekind to sail off into the sunset.”

This is clearly intended as a somewhat florid expression, rather weakened by the writer’s not knowing what “vestigial” means.  But it also is used in place of “mankind” to be inclusive, just like nowadays.

In summary, the word, with its perfectly transparent morphology, has long been available, and in occasional use for half a century or so.

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