Genders in languages

Since joining ld4all, I’ve started learning some languages for fun and out of interest, and the “genderedness” of many languages struck me.

(Tl;dr, genders in languages kind of bother me. I wonder if it subtly influences sexism and I wonder how non-binary people deal with all the importance put on gender.)

Grammatical gender

The first thing that stood out was grammatical gender, something absent in any of the languages I already knew (e.g. English). I first encountered this when learning Spanish and it was a big culture shock, but easy enough to get accustomed to. I did wonder why things like ties and razors were feminine when traditionally used by males, but it’s easy enough to accept as a concept separate from actual gender.

Imbalance in gender rules

What kind of bothered me was how some rules were imbalanced, usually placing more distinction on masculine gendered nouns.

In Chinese, for example, there are three different terms for uncle, but only two for aunt. Father’s-side uncles are differentiated between those older than the father and those younger the ones father, something not done for mother’s-side uncles or aunts for either side.

In Polish, masculine genders are divided into masculine personal (people), masculine animate (e.g. animals), and masculine inanimate (objects). For feminine nouns, there’s only one group. Polish also has two words for they, one which is used for any group which includes at least one male, and another for any group with no male (i.e. Groups with only female and/or neuter). Other languages also have similar concepts of “they”. I found this kind of insulting to women, as if saying there was no distinction between women and animals or objects.

Again, I guess it’s easy enough to accept as a separate concept from actual gender, but still it kind of bothers me. I also wonder if it subtly affects the way people think regarding actual genders.

Gender distinction

Third, I was bothered with gender distinction, something which does exist in English, with stuff like actor vs actress, and most prominent, he/she pronouns. It makes me kind of uncomfortable why different terms have to be used. Especially when using the female terms, it feels unnatural, like the term was invented for the sole purpose of giving distinction that this person is a female.

It surprised me to realize that English was actually the least gendered compared to other European languages. Learning that a simple phrase like “I’m tired” had to be said differently if you were a man vs if you were a woman struck me to the point of feeling discouraged about continuing to learn the language. Even Asian languages like Japanese or Korean have some aspects like this, though I don’t know yet to what extent. It makes me wonder how non-binary people deal with everyday speaking. Or do they just naturally choose one? Does it work the same as English in that the masculine term becomes the default?

There’s actually a lot of interesting info on this stuff in linguistics, I’m sure you could find some good books on the subject. My memory of linguistics is rusty at the moment, but many of these things aren’t nearly as sexist as they may seem. In particular, grammatical gender is often more of a “sorting” system from what I recall, and helps mark certain discourse syntax in language. In fact, “gender” in languages like Spanish is better termed as Noun Classes. Many languages have Noun Classes, the biggest one aside from Gender being Animate/Inanimate (actually might be more languages than this). The European languages, in general, are more heavily focused on that type of Gender marking. Just take a look at Navajo. I believe that one has some crazy amount of Noun Classes (which are what Gender is in languages like Spanish, where the word’s inflection changes based off the gender).

I believe they have shown that gender in languages that assign it like Spanish, such as to tables or tvs, does affect speaker perceptions of something being more masculine or feminine, but I’m not a 100% sure on that, and I don’t believe it’s very significant.

For gender referring to family terms, such as your Chinese example, I would speculate this does come from a patriarchal view of society. You likely see such distinctions because they were considered important enough, but this may not also be the case. Language change can be kind of odd and leave remnants of things that you would otherwise not expect (such as marked case in English, who vs whom, I vs Me).

As for the gender distinction in English, I think a lot of the masculine terms were originally gender neutral, and then people started adding feminine inflections to them. For instance, at least in my opinion as an English speaker, you could refer to both men and women as actors, but only women as actresses. In fact, from when and where I grew up, aside from feminist talks and the like, it has never been unusual to use “male” terms for both men and women, it’s more like a gender neutral word, vs the feminine ones that are specifically only for women. English has also responded to the need for a gender neutral pronoun, as “they” has been adopted in the singular by most English speakers as a gender neutral third person pronoun. It isn’t “officially” this yet, but it’s definitely on it’s way, if not already part of the language. My experience with non-binary individuals is that they either prefer “they” or they like your to switch between “he” or “she” depending on mood/context. There are others who may want some other form of pronoun, but I think for the most part this covers many of them. I’ve even seen some want “it” used, though “it” implies something is inanimate, and thus considered demeaning by many. Thus, we may eventually see “it” become an acceptable gender neutral animate pronoun in English, but I would speculate it won’t because of “they” and it’s popular usage.

Also, to add on to the discussion of gender, there are a few languages that you may be curious about. For instance, Japanese women used to have to use a different writing system than men (this is why there is both Katakana & Hiragana if I recall correctly). There are also aboriginal languages where the women have their own version of the language they have to speak (and I think one of them even has an additional form for speaking with mother in laws, but I’m not sure on that one).

Overall, a lot of the heavy focus on Gender from a grammatical perspective is clustered in the Indo-European languages, and particularly in the more popular European languages. This does not mean it doesn’t occur elsewhere, just that it’s heavily focused in a small sample of the world’s languages that just happen to be some of the most spoken languages.

Also, and this is super important, I’m very rusty on all of this. But look into some linguistic textbooks on gender, or even investigate conlanging a bit. It’s covered quite in depth, and you can even ask some questions on the conlanaging forums about how gender works in certain languages, why it’s there, etc.

Language is extremely complex and beautiful, and why there are certainly effects from gender in language, their origins can be surprising when investigated and may actually serve a different purpose than what you imagine.

Thanks for your reply :smile:

I guess I feel unnaturally bothered by genderendess in languages, like most people don’t even think about it. It took some time for me to separate it as something mostly grammatical.

With English, I think I also learned masculine terms as a default for being gender neutral, like using “man” for “human” and “he” as a pronoun for “one”. I also use “they” if I don’t know someone’s gender or prefer to keep it ambiguous, unless it makes the sentences confusing (in which case I succumb to using “he” or “she”, or try to rephrase the sentence all together).

On non-binary, I was wondering more about other languages. I once tried out a new vocabulary word only to be corrected by a native speaker for using the wrong gendered verb. I want to be grammatically correct, but I also want to be able to be gender neutral, which seems impossible in romance languages for example, unless they also accept the masculine or feminine terms to be gender neutral.

In Swedish we don’t really have any “gender” forms - at least not in the sense that we call them masculine or feminine forms, although those kinds of forms did exist in old Swedish.
What we have instead are forms called utrum and neutrum, which determine things like how to say “a”/“an” and what the definite form will look like.
Simply put, nouns that belong to the utrum form use the count word “en” (“en bok” = “a book”, “en person” = “a person” etc), whereas those that belong to the neutrum form use “ett” (“ett hus” = “a house”, “ett fönster” = “a window” etc).
The N and T nature of those count words will also be reflected in the definite forms (Swedish uses suffixes to show definite forms instead of a word like “the”), so “the book” will become “boken”, “the house” will become “huset” and so on.
But for some reason the definite plural form of neutrum nouns uses “-en”, so “the houses” will become “husen”, and “the windows” will become “fönstren” (“fönster-” changes to “fönstr-” to make the word easier to pronounce), which is a bit confusing and inconsistent.
It’s kind of a mess, and pretty much requires memorisation, but there are some clues that are fairly useful, like for example most animate objects and words that end with
“-a” tend to be utrum nouns (most of the time), and nouns that remain unchanged in the indefinite plural form are mostly neutrum nouns.

hi Alot! its a good question. most languages have nonbinary communities online somewhere who are deeply discussing the challenges of their own language but its hard to find because its not translated and not necessarily mainstream. i would guess that in every language the solutions nonbinary speakers find will be shot down as “ungrammatical” by their fellow speakers just as many english speakers call “they” ungrammatical, sometimes innocently but sometimes with the intention of stifling nonconforming language and expression.

although japan has a thriving non gender conforming subculture so you might have some luck there. i would guess french is also likely to have at least some serious nonbinary linguistic criticism in english translation.

there are some native cultures in the americas where gender was never considered binary to begin with and have very interesting sets of pronouns :smile: unfortunately theres so few speakers remaining of many of these languages that living speakers much less a living nonbinary community of speakers is difficult to find :meh:

let us know if you find anything interesting :happy:

and thanks for the info on swedish Laurelindo! its interesting to see an example of different forms that doesnt rely on gender. i get that categorizing words is useful to the brain but gender seems like a strange thing to pick. cool that its not universal. now im curious what other ways of categorizing words a language could use!

Swedish and Dutch were the “less gendered” languages I learned, and I appreciate that. The distinction is more of gendered vs neutral as described above, rather than masculine vs feminine. So it’s not actually important to know whether a gendered noun is male or female (assuming it is one or the other - I wonder if native speakers still learn if a noun is male or female?). I’m kind of awed about this now, at the thought that gender exists but the distinction isn’t important.

Hi Obli, the thought of nonbinary communities makes sense, especially how you compare it to the English use of “they” and being shot down as ungrammatical. I actually came across a nonbinary community recently (English) and there were some discussions on alternative gender-neutral terms like “Renny” and other alternatives for mommy or daddy, or “nibling” for niece/nephew. It would be interesting to see how these things evolve, though I’m a bit afraid of how it would be accepted and if people would argue that there is no need for such a development.

Adding in this link on attempts to work with the Russian language.

As you mention other cultures, I also wonder what concept of gender is “natural”. Obviously non binary people exist, but I still find it hard to completely understand the non binary concept.

So it’s important to know that Gender and Sex are separate (not saying you don’t, just establishing this so people aren’t confused). Sex is the physiology someone has, gender identity is their feeling of being a man/woman/etc.

In general, we think of gender as a binary. So imagine a straight line. At one end, you have Feminine, at the other you have Masculine. People fall all over the line, so some are more masculine, some are more feminine. So using stereotypes, we might say that at the Feminine end of gender, we get painting your nails, doing make up, raising children. At the masculine end of gender, we get cars, sports, supporting a family by working, etc. But obviously some men stay at home and raise kids, paint their nails; inversely, some women love cars but hate make up, don’t want to raise children, etc.

And basically that’s how we think of the Male/Female binary of gender.

But what makes something masculine/feminine? Well that’s defined based on our culture and society’s views. Some cultures may have vastly different views of gender; hypothetically, you could have a culture where men are expected to raise children and women expected to work, where cars are feminine while the arts are considered masculine. Really, there could be any mixture of this.

Many think of blue as a boy’s color, pink as a girl’s. But in the early 20th century America, the reverse was in fact held to be true. Pink was energetic and represented masculinity, while blue was subdued and represented femininity. In fact, there was a bit of a miny war between these two opposing ideals of which gender was which color, and ultimately blue for boys, pink for girls won out. The origin of all this was competing marketing campaigns from early 20th century America.

And thus that straight line we talked about earlier isn’t so straight. In fact, those “binary” ends are mostly (if not completely) defined by our culture. Consequently, a non-binary person has a gender that doesn’t match up very well with what we think of as “binary.” As pointed out, there are cultures that had third genders and various other things, probably because their idea of gender and the expectations of such were vastly different than our current culture.

So gender isn’t really a line, but we as a culture generalize it to be one with masculine/feminine as the extremes, creating a binary system where you are various parts masculine/feminine.

I should note that while I’ve studied gender issues, my experience with non-binary is limited. This also doesn’t cover gender identity, as that “feeling” of being a man, woman, or the various non-binary genders has a biological component to it, so gender is not totally a social concept. The view of gender I personally subscribe to is that gender itself is mostly a social construct, but gender identity is a biological one, and clearly the two have interplay, leading to the idea that gender must have some sort of biological component if gender identity does too.

So that was a long post, but basically I was just trying to help elucidate what Non-binary was to make it easier to understand. It’s really only strange because of the way our current culture defines gender, which is as a binary, something not all cultures have done. While we “currently believe as a culture” that gender is a straight line with masculine/feminine endings, that’s probably not the most accurate view of gender (I might be more inclined to picture gender as overlapping circles, where the masculine circle overlaps with the feminine, with the genderqueer, with agender, etc.).

I’m surprised Finnish hasn’t been mentioned yet. We have one word for he and she, it’s just “hän” no matter who you talk about.

Norwegian uses roughly the same gender system as Swedish. Every noun has a gender, which makes more or less sense.

The indefinite article in Norwegian has three forms: en (male) ei (female) and et (neutral). Norwegian has no definite article, instead we use an affix -en (male) -a (female) -et (neutral) This pattern is the same in every spoken Norwegian dialect, except for one!

Our oldest “official” written language form, bokmÃ¥l, is actually adapted from Danish. This is because Norway was in an union with Denmark at the time when literacy became widespread in Norway. Danish doesn’t have the same distinction between male and female gender. Because of this, old forms of bokmÃ¥l use “en” og “-en” for both genders.

People who wanted to give an “upper class” impression started to imitate this in their speech. Some people still speak like this, especially older people in the Oslo region, but it sounds old fashioned to most of us now.

I do know this, but I think when I first learned that, it was in the context of transgender, and still fell into the binary concept of gender. I also wouldn’t define gender by preferences or any of those cultural stereotypes. A woman can like cars, dress like a man, etc, and still identify as a woman, and likewise a man can paint nails, wear make up and still identify as a man. Rather gender is just what a person identifies as, however this seems pretty vague and confusing.

I also wonder if a transgender person was born into a culture that accepted non-binary genders like male-females and female-males, if they would still have the need to change their body, or if they would be completely happy as-is just being themselves.

Good that you’ve mentioned it now, it actually made me happy to learn that. Unfortunately Finnish wasn’t one of the languages I’d started learning, and I just assumed it was also similar to Swedish and Norweigan due to the proximity of the countries, but now I see it’s a completely different family.

This is interesting. I haven’t learned Norwegian either, but I did read from the Swedish thread that it was similar to Swedish. Didn’t know that there was a different dialect. It seems odd though that BokmÃ¥l is the version being offered on Duolingo if it’s considered old fashioned.

Writing BokmÃ¥l isn’t considered old fashioned. It is our most common style of spelling. It has evolved over time, and the most conservative form is rarely seen anymore. Speaking it like it is written is, especially the conservative form. :cool:

@Alot

Well that’s why that’s called gender identity, and when you think about it, it is confusing. What makes us feel like a man/woman/non-binary gender? No clue honestly, but this is still separate from Gender. Gender is better perceived as how society is viewing gender and what’s expected of people based off of their gender presentation. Whereas gender was more rigid previously, over the years it’s become more fluid (so that women can work or men can take care of the kids; if you look at some countries, you can still see some very rigid gender roles enforced by their laws). And in this sense, many cis (and some trans) individuals want to make everything binary when it comes to what they think of or expect of gender, but in reality there’s clearly more to gender than two rigid poles. But it’s easier for people not familiar with non-binary to imagine everything as somehow male or somehow female and not somehow third or more category of gender.

If a transgender individual feels the need to change their body, then that would be irrelevant to their non-binary status. Many non-binary individuals may choose to undergo certain hormone treatments that are different from that of a binary trans person for instance. When your body feels wrong, it feels wrong. This is one of the reasons why sex/gender distinction is so important, as this kind of confusion will happen. There is physical dysphoria, and even with acceptance of non-binary, this would not change the fact that the individual in question has a mismatch between their body and their sex. Physical and gender dysphoria should be separated, as while they most often occur together, they are not the exact same thing either (the physical dysphoria is centered around your body not matching your gender, while the gender dysphoria is centered around how you or society see yourself as your actual gender). Theoretically (speaking in terms of binary because it’s easier, but you can just apply a non-binary gender to the examples and it still works the same), a transwoman may just want a female body but be perfectly comfortable with being a man in day to day life, while another transwoman may want to be seen as a woman, but isn’t comfortable with the idea of hormones, breasts, etc. and would rather use things like breastforms to compensate. Even if people accepted non-binary more, this still doesn’t change the fact that the first transwoman simply wants a different body. At best, the transwomen in these two examples would feel less pressured to do either a social transition (in the case of the former) or a physical transition (as in the case of the latter), something that may currently be forced on them even if they didn’t want it (namely in the case of the former, though friends, family, or unethical doctors in the case of the latter). Most typical transwomen will be a mixture of both, to where some want SRS and some don’t, some want mild hormone treatment, others want the full dose, etc.

Hopefully I haven’t lost you in that wall of text. But basically, if there were more acceptance of non-binary individuals, then I think three things would hold true for people transitioning: 1) Many more people who are trans would be likely to transition, as they may simply be slightly embarrassed/ashamed and not having to match a specific binary identity may help them make the first step (though these people would eventually transition fully as they are binary; it’s just that not having to fully commit to one of the binaries, in a sense, might make people more comfortable with taking the first step, such as thinking they are gender-fluid before realizing they’re binary). 2) Non-Binary individuals would physically transition far more frequently, as many may be scared to seek treatment for fear of being told they have to fit into the binary and that they can’t transition into their non-binary selves. 3) Many transgender individuals may choose to not socially or physically transition as much as may be expected, perhaps taking things at a more comfortable pace than what is normally expected of them (such as HRT & SRS without social transition, or with minimal social transition).

I do not find this as any sort of an issue with anyone and especially not for the sake of the people who do not feel binary enough to choose either side on their daily routines.

In Serbian language you may well enough use the first person and remain completely neutral, and when referring to someone use the 2nd person and refer to them in a more formal and polite way. I’m pretty sure that this is the same thing in pretty much all languages since everyone have

  • He
  • She
  • You

The only possible/plausible issue arises when a person refers to someone who considers himself/herself a non-binary person, in which case a common practice would be to simply call them by their chosen name and use the pronouns according to their chosen name. This is the most common practice.

What is definitely not a common practice is to hope that thousands of years of the history and language will somehow change to accompany and pamper the feelings of some people who feel that they’re not part of the general system simply because it’s currently politically manifested as the actuality and fueled by sensationalism governed by the major media and pushed forward by the propaganda which diminishes historical, biological and societal norms to appear as more understanding. I’m very glad that Europe and especially the Slavic countries are not at all going to actualize any changes to the history and linguistics just because someone’s not feeling comfortable enough with the pronouns. :tongue:

@HITC,

Thinking of it in terms of three dimensions helps make it clearer to me. I also tried searching a bit more after reading your response, and found this article that further goes into the three dimensions (body, identity, and expression).

I think I also agree with you there now, dysphoria being something separate from cultural effects.

The article also mentioned a bit about language:

I guess that’s the main effect of it, how rigid or how easily we are able to define and express ourselves.

I do feel alone in feeling this discomfort, which is probably a result of over thinking things.

Most languages do seem to have that pattern for pronouns - gender neutral first and second person, and he/she for third person. Generally, having gendered adjectives (which also applied to the first and second person) bothered me the most, with third person gendered pronouns being secondary, but workable, as you’ve described.

I don’t really hope for things to change, especially if it would cause more conflict or resentment. I can kind of relate with your sentiment actually, since I personally prefer traditional Chinese to simplified, having originally learned the former.

On a side note, most of my distress on this topic came from starting Memrise for languages with gendered adjectives. The exercises were more conversational and had things like “I’m tired (said by a man)” or “you’re hungry (said to a woman)”. Sticking to Duolingo with its random sentences felt better and I was able to go back to appreciating the peculiarities of each language.

Well, I think the last thing I really want to address here is that he/she is not actually a distinction that occurs in many languages, this stems from Indo-European and mostly European languages, which happen to rely heavily on male/female gender overall. Other language families don’t do this, and in fact I believe the majority of languages don’t. There’s a website that actually has all of this data compiled to see what gender systems in languages (male/female, animate/inanimate) is most popular throughout the world’s languages, but I’ve seem to forgot the actual website (if I remember it, I’ll link it later). But basically what I’m trying to say is that because European languages are so over represented due to having the most speakers, we assume things they do represent most languages when in fact they are only a tiny sliver of the 6000+ languages that currently exist in our world.

Thus the 3rd person male/female gender problem (he/she) is, in fact, not a problem in many languages anyways. And I don’t think trying to force language change will ever go over well, there are many cases were people have tried and failed (though cases in the case of marketing in the USA for example where they have succeeded), but language is here to describe humans and what we experience/observe. When it begins to fall short of that, we must naturally adapt with our language, and if there is not a complete outright rejection of non-binary individuals but rather acceptance, then things will naturally change in the language. Though it isn’t probably because of non-binary individuals themselves, you can see this actively in English as “they” becomes a 3rd person singular/plural gender neutral pronoun, and personally I believe this trend is likely to continue until it is technically grammatical.

“They” as 3rd person singular? First time I’ve heard that.

I think it’ll just fall short into colloquialism, as many trends do.

If the U.S. succeeds to place Ebonics as a language variety besides the common English, then there’s a chance that socialist government or political organization might influence the Education ministry as well as the intellectual society to reconsider and/or further the concept.

What I’m stating is that the concept is stupid since it’s biologically impossible to make something different than X(feminization) and Y(masculinization) and this you do not learn in social circles but in the biological topics of Sexual Differentiation. When mutations, if any (preposterous), begin congenially leaning towards a third option, only then there’s a necessity for the linguistic changes.

Blaming the languages for not having such option is a bit out there.

The thing I notice when thinking about languages and genders is that, as far as my language understanding goes(English and some Spanish), there usually aren’t gender-neutral singular pronouns. English has pronouns such as he, him, her, and she, but the closest you can get to a gender-neutral pronoun is they, which is plural. Spanish has el and ella, but no gender-neutral singular pronoun as far as I know. Though I do agree that of the languages I do know, English does seem to be the least gender based. He is running and she is running are the same sentences, with different pronouns, same with he is smart and she is smart. There’s also only one they, instead of two different ones for the two main genders. I dunno, but these are just some thoughts I have at times. Thoughts are cool, ya know?

SPOILER - Click to view

you may be interested to know that what you learned in intro biology class about XX and XY is a simplification. it is likely that you have an acquaintance who is neither of those two, though they likely don’t know it. XXY is the most common variation.

as you hinted at, government standards and educational requirements change the way people think. it is not surprising that most people think XX and XY are the only possibilities, as this is what they are required to be taught. i wouldnt blame anyone for assuming this is true before they learn otherwise.

in addition, there are a variety of intersex conditions that put almost 2% of people into a space where the whole male/female concept is less clear. some percentage of those will have received surgery at birth to make them appear on one side or the other. again, they may not know themselves that this has happened, and it likely affects someone you are acquainted with.

i learned a lot about these kinds of things after being in a position of responsibility over a couple people who, it turned out, did not fit so neatly into the rules i was expected to enforce. it is difficult to intellectualize away the reality of human beings when they are in front of you and their well being depends on you.

you also may be interested to know that recently many official platforms and style guides in english updated to officially accept “they” as a 3rd person singular. this is something most people dont know as most people are not familiar with working with publications that have style guides, only with reading the results.

i think this is a sign that “they” as a 3rd person singular has gotten past the largest hurdles and will receive mainstream acceptance. it has been in the language, at least among some people, for many years. but before recently, major publications would consider it a grammatical mistake even when a source uses it or an interviewee prefers it and remove it to conform with the style guide.

now that an increasing number of style guides no longer demand editing away this linguistic reality, it will become more common in your experience as a reader and not seem so strange, i think!

i was surprised when i came up against this issue and started to realize just how many rules and standards are designed to hide a reality that i was artificially taught not to see. the way ive come to see it now, the supposed change in language and thought around gender is less of a change and more about seeing what has been there all along.

Imma joke a bit here now since what I read is rather silly…

It’s supposed to be as simple as it can get :wink: If you want to specify that a sexual intercourse in the human species has an integer “Z” somewhere in between, then it would be noted as the “3rd personality”. Female and Male are the only acceptable biological expositions. Frankly, I do not see your point as clear. Yes, people with deformities do exist if that’s what you’re pointing at.

I question the motives for the change, for instance, since most of those are pushed forward solely to gain some points in the public eyes with a specific group and/or a specific agenda given by specific high profiled people who’d find solstice in pursuing such a change that would not feel naturally progressive but, rather, forced. Same method was used throughout the history to no avail, I’m afraid.
Now, you state that XX and XY aren’t the only possibilities in terms of the human species. This would need some elaboration on your part since, frankly, I’ve no idea how you may conclude that about the human species. I never saw 3rd sex nor that such a thing exists. Combinations of both female and male reproductive organs which would be considered a deformation, yes, but something out of that - no.

But why stop there? Why make gender based changes in the language only? Why not to make a particular form for people who need to wear glasses and/or prosthetic arms? Why are genitalia so important, especially to the transsexuals? Why are transsexuals only ones who need to be referred to in some specific form that’s akin only to them in particular solely for the sake of a PC friendly environment? 2% of the world’s population is such a strong overestimation of the transsexual populace. :shy: And what about asexual people? Clearly they need a gender-neutral grounds for the language based dedication that fits their general agenda…Something like… Furlolalel and transsexuals could use Furlolaleletetheteth (kinda Shakespearean).
Like…like…Furlolalel may drink tea at this very moment. Furlolalel may mind the gap.
I hope that it’s clear why I think that boosting someone’s ego by pampering to their genitalia…hmm…“orientation”, specifically in terms of the sexuality which is more psychological than anything else, should come as such a splendidly idiotic idea when incorporated in the language itself.

And if special editions of Shakespearean literature needs to be used… Furlolaleletetheteth.

I usually do not get swayed away by people’s emotions when it comes down to the logic and science. :shy:
Psychology itself isn’t hard science, but biology is. :shy:

And Trump’s president. :grin: ME and Trends aren’t akin one to another, especially when trends are used to influence younger populations into believing ludicrous things…like the existence of the 3rd gender in the human biology… :neutral:

It IS a major mistake to use “They”. Furlolaleletetheteth would make it far more interesting and people might learn a thing or two in the process.
Just think of all the sexist jokes starting as “They them They That”…Oh, mercy.

I don’t think so. No offense. :content:

Yes, that nasty Biology teaching people that humans reproduce with male and female genitalia… :sad: if only human feelings were more important… :sad: our language would be so much richer. :shy:

I only accept Furlolaleletetheteth as a valid 3rd person singular (or dual??? Trial??? Theyal??? :confused: ).

Tagalog and Bahasa speaker, here. I totally blame the English language for not having such an option from the infancy of the language, because it’s such an unnecessary distinction everywhere else in life. If gender matters in any situation, you could infer it from context :neutral: English is a terribly persnickety language and I dislike it very much.