Re:Is there a gender neutral substitute for his or her

That hasn’t been true for practical purposes for about forty years. (And I have a suspicion that it wasn’t true before WWI either, making it a fairly short-lived phenomenon in the history of the language.) Good try though!
Powers &8^]

It’s not particularly difficult to find examples of epicene he going back to Middle English.

(For what it’s worth, man is definitely neutral. Most languages have two separate words for man-as-opposed-to-beast and man-as-opposed-to-woman (Latin homo and vir, for example, or Greek ἄνθρωπος and ἀνήρ), but, for unclear reasons, the English word for man-as-opposed-to-woman, wer, fell out of use, except as fossilized in werewolf and weregild, and man got stuck with double duty.)

Does anyone else remember the short-lived word “s/he”? I thought it was elegant for its brevity.

It depends. Transgender (no -ed, please, it’s not a verb) folks can fall anywhere on the gender spectrum though most (not all) do identify with one of the binary genders, that is, male or female, and therefore he/him, she/her is appropriate.

Then some transgender folks are genderqueer, agender, bigender or gender liminal and prefer neutral pronouns, which could be zie (or ze)/hir or ey/eir or they/their, and I know one person who prefers ou.

If you’re not sure, the best thing to do is ask.

As for a blanket substitute, there is really, really nothing wrong with the singular they. Absolutely nothing.

And as for the example in the OP, if you really can’t see why it’s problematic to center a woman’s identity not on herself but on her relationship with someone else, especially a man, I’m not sure what to tell you.

I’ve always thought that
[ul]
[li]‘se’ for she/he (pronounced ‘see’)[/li][li]‘herm’ for her/him (pronounced like it’s spelled, rhymes with ‘perm’)[/li][li]‘hirs’ for hers/his (pronounced like ‘hears’ but with a short ‘i’ like in ‘bit’) [/li][/ul]
would work well, and be quite easy to transition to

Sample sentence: “Se went to the house and polished hirs shoes. That’s when I saw herm”

It does look a bit strange when you see it written :slight_smile: It should become less strange the more it is used, I assume.

What does not being a verb have to do with anything? “Gender” isn’t a verb, yet the correct adjectival form is “gendered”. Perhaps you meant “it’s already an adjective”.

I realize the second-person plural has already been adapted to singular use (requiring the subsequent invention of new plural forms, sadly), but we maintain the singular/plural distinction in the first and third persons for quite good reasons.
Powers &8^]

The problem with your proposed possessive and objective pronouns is that certain adjacent words will make them sound like the feminine form (“her shoes” versus “hirs shoes” will not be distinguishable in most American accents).
Powers &8^]

“Gender” is indeed a verb. Next time, look it up.

The most commonly cited definitions of “gender” make it a noun.

Only one def makes it a verb, “to engender”. The definition of “engender” does not mention “gender”. This seems to be a misappropriation because the word seems like part of the second word, therefore it means the same thing.

Regardless, “transgender” is the word cited by tumbleddown, and it is not a verb.

Oh, thefreedictionary.com doesn’t list a word, well, that’s certainly crushed my argument. I mean, thefreedictionary.com, what greater authority could possibly be named?

Merriam-Wesbter agrees. How many more dictionaries do you want us to check?

Regardless, my point stands. The word “gendered” is derived from the noun “gender”, since it means “possessing a gender”. It’s a perfectly valid adjectival form, so the objection to “transgendered” strikes me as spurious, as it a parallel construction.
Powers &8^]

Sometimes really intelligent people get bogged down in the meaning of words.
I wonder if this is an inbuilt weakness of intelligent conversation.
It happens when I interact with my ‘meatspace’ friends as well as here.

I did a google search, and picked one. How many should I list?

Perhaps you should provide justification that “gender” is a verb, instead. It is your claim.

If you want to argue that a lexeme does not exist in English, there is only the Oxford English Dictionary—but the staff of the OED expressly call it an abuse to do so. One can prove that a word does exist, but not that it does not, apart from the handful of words positively known to be spurious. (And even that is risky; *pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is, and obviously is, complete rubbish, but, like normalcy, has acquired a Frankenstein-like life of its own.)

That’s quite true. “Gender” doesn’t need to be a verb for “gendered” and “transgendered” to be valid. Nonetheless, “gender” is a verb.

That would be OK if he had only one female neighbour.

“His neighbor’s wife…”

What if he has more than one married neighbor?

Why is it assumed a man’s neighbor is a male?

I disagree it is more natural to focus on the family of the victim and not the victim.

I visited my uber-P.C. alma mater, Oberlin College, over the weekend and noticed that the student newspaper intermittently used “ze” for he/she, and “zir” for his/her.