Someone please correct me if I am wrong -- I have lost some of my messages
-- but was not Jim Worstell's only use of the word "he" within a quote from
Mark Twain? If that is so, then perhaps we should take this up with Mr.
Twain? :) If not, perhaps we can forgive Mr. Worstell for not polishing
and editing what was a quick e-mail to a group of colleagues and friends.
I have a suggestion which is a very small step, I know, but...It sounds to
me as if no one who has so far spoken would be *opposed* to having an
English gender-neutral singular pronoun which could be used to refer to
farmers (and other professionals, and other people). And several people
would very much *approve* of something like that. Many of us are stuck
with English at this point, but do you know what, we don't have to be stuck
with English as it IS.
So, let's create some new pronouns! Participate in Michelle Gale-Sinex's
evolution-of-language idea. I suggest "esh" (for he and she -- the fact
that esh is she-scrambled is accidental; it does include all the letters
equally), and "ris" (for his and hers).
I know this may sound a bit ridiculous, but I don't care! :) As I say,
it's a very very small step. It would be marvelous if we could all learn
several more languages, but while we are doing that maybe we can also
change our own to be a bit kinder and easier to use.
Also...forgive me for sounding prissy...I am troubled by the fact that this
thread *has* become slightly divisive and, to some extent, rude and
snappish...I think that language is unbelievably important because it does
shape the way we view the world, as Steve Diver pointed out in his
fascinating post; and it allows us to communicate our perspectives, as Ms.
Gale-Sinex said. I think that in order to maintain any community, language
should be used in as respectful and caring a manner as possible, because
doing so indicates that community is important and that our perspective on
one another *is* caring and inclusive.
With thanks to everyone who has contributed so far,
Teaching Resources and Integrated Farming Systems
University of Kentucky
N106R Ag. Science North
Lexington, KY 40546-0091
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