I can see them, but I’m still going to call them ‘they’

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Name: Grammar pendantry across the generations
Date: 28/4/14
Author: Allie Severin
Key Ideas:
  • People of all ages are all correcting each other.
  • A study was done to see what they would correct in someones speech or writing.
  • One twelfth of younger participants of the study thought it was ‘unacceptable’ that ‘they’ was used to describe someone instead of using ‘him’ or ‘her’
Language Features: Prescriptivism, Descriptivism, syntax, spelling, punctuation, neologisms
Course Aspects: Unit 4 - AoS 1: Language Variation in Australian Society -  attitudes within society to different varieties of English, including pre and de scriptivism
Personal Opinion: In my opinion, I think that the word ‘they’ can be used to describe people, whether or not you can see what gender or race they are, as it isn’t offensive to the person in the slightest,  and it shouldn’t be something that people complain about.
  • It was a younger participant, however, who stated that ‘you’re’ spelt ‘your’ resulted in an “instant loss of respect”.
  • Basically, young people care about different things in comparison with older generations when it comes to language.
  • While ‘correct’ language use was seen as valuable, avoiding marginalising people was more important.
  • “the gender of the person should be clear from the evidence before our eyes”.

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