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From the New York Times news section:

In a Nonbinary Pronoun, France Sees a U.S. Attack on the Republic

When a French dictionary included the gender-nonspecific “iel” for the first time, a virulent reaction erupted over “wokisme” exported from American universities.

France is particularly on edge over the rise of American gender and race politics. Many politicians and academics believe their language and nation are under attack from the United States.

By Roger Cohen and Léontine Gallois
Nov. 28, 2021

PARIS — Perhaps France was always going to have a hard time with nonbinary pronouns. Its language is intensely gender-specific and fiercely protected by august authorities. Still, the furor provoked by a prominent dictionary’s inclusion of the pronoun “iel” has been remarkably virulent.

As opposed to the global spread of American Wokeness, which isn’t “virulent” at all and isn’t provoked by the furor of its proponents.

Le Petit Robert, rivaled only by the Larousse in linguistic authority, chose to add “iel” — a gender-neutral merging of the masculine “il” (he) and the feminine “elle” (she) — to its latest online edition. Jean-Michel Blanquer, the education minister, was not amused.

“You must not manipulate the French language, whatever the cause,” he said, expressing support for the view that “iel” was an expression of “wokisme.”

Mr. Blanquer is seemingly convinced of a sweeping American “woke” assault on France aimed at spreading racial and gender discord over French universalism. Last month he told the daily Le Monde that a backlash against what he called woke ideology was the main factor in the 2016 victory of Donald J. Trump.

In this instance, however, he was joined by Brigitte Macron, the first lady. “There are two pronouns: he and she,” she declared. “Our language is beautiful. And two pronouns are appropriate.”

The Robert defines “iel” (pronounced roughly “yell”) as “a third person subject pronoun in the singular and plural used to evoke a person of any gender.” …

France, a country where it is illegal for the state to compile racial statistics, is particularly on edge over the rise of American gender and race politics. President Emmanuel Macron has warned that “certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States” may be a threat. Mr. Blanquer has identified “an intellectual matrix” in American universities bent on undermining a supposedly colorblind French society of equal men and women through the promotion of identity-based victimhood.

This is the backdrop to the “iel” explosion, which the left-wing newspaper Libération described under the headline “The Highway to Iel.”

Lilian Delhomme, 24, a gender-nonconforming student of international affairs at the University of Paris 8 who has been using the pronoun “iel” for about a year, was appalled by Ms. Macron’s statement.

“This for me was very violent,” Mx. Delhomme said in an interview….

This year, Mx. Delhomme informed fellow students and faculty of the new pronoun preference. To little avail. “Everyone still calls me ‘he,’ which is pretty disappointing for political science students,” said Mx. Delhomme, whose professor asked, “What on earth is that?” when Mx. Delhomme used “iel” on a résumé.

For some time, a movement for “inclusive writing” has battled the linguistic establishment in France. It is broadly an attempt to wean the French language of its male bias, including the rule that when it comes to the choice of pronouns for groups of women and men, the male form takes precedence over the female; and when it comes to adjectives describing mixed gatherings, they take the masculine form.

The Académie rebuffed such attempts earlier this year. Its secretary-in-perpetuity, Hélène Carrère d’Encausse, said that inclusive writing, even if it seemed to bolster a movement against sexist discrimination, “is not only counterproductive for that cause but harmful to the practice and intelligibility of the French language.”

Intelligibility has been a very strong norm in French culture for the almost four centuries since the Classic prose style emerged in the age of Descartes and Pascal. American wokesters, in contrast, are less inclined to write lucidly enough that their ideas can be rigorously evaluated by outsiders.

… Most Americans would be astonished to discover that what Mr. Jolivet called the woke movement — which he described as an insult to everyone else who is “supposedly asleep” — is really about attacking France.

Why is that astonishing? France has long resisted American hegemony, such as De Gaulle’s resistance to the American view of the Cold War or Chirac’s resistance to GW Bush’s Iraq Attaq. Moreover, Paris has been the central venue for ideological struggle since 1789 when the positions of the parties in the new French assembly defined the terms “left” and “right.” Wokeism, even if vaguely alluding for reasons of prestige to French literary Theory of the 1970s, is clearly a product of the high quantity / low quality American academic machine.

Equally, few French people outside a bubble of universities, media and politics ever discuss “le wokisme” or preferred pronouns in their daily lives. …

The differences are not only international. The Larousse dictionary derided the Robert initiative, dismissing “iel” as a “pseudo pronoun.”

… Meanwhile, Mr. Blanquer, the education minister, is not about to use the nonbinary pronoun.

As he told the French National Assembly in 2017, “There is only one French language, only one grammar, and only one Republic.”

The French state has long had strong unitary tendencies so that it can be united enough to compete with the highly centralized English state and later peer competitors. To the French, wokeism is American cultural rot made feasible by American being protected by two oceans.

On the verbal issues … I don’t know anything about French and not much more about English, but it’s not unreasonable to have quick, convenient ways of expressing the fact that you don’t know something about a person you are talking about. For instance, when I entered business in 1982, it was convenient for me that all the business letters to women workers at clients were now addressed “Dear Ms. So-and-So” rather than the previous distinction between “Dear Miss” and “Dear Mrs.” By 1982, I didn’t have to keep track of the marital status of dozens of female market research staffers whom I’d never meet.

Sex is more obvious, but often times you still don’t know or are speaking in the hypothetical. Say you witnessed an accident and tell the police: “The hit-and-run driver knocked down the old lady and then he took off northbound at 80 mph.” Using “he” is useful if you could see that the hit-and-run driver was a man, but it can be confusing if you are using “he” to mean “he or she” because you couldn’t tell the sex of the lawbreaker. In something this important, it’s good to spell out “he or she,” but that’s awkward in more casual conversations.

Most Americans seem to use “they” in these types of ambiguous situations, but in the hit-and-run case, that can cause confusion about the number of people in the car the cops are looking for.

Of course, being forced to memorize idiosyncratic pronouns to celebrate the fetishes, confusions, and whims of individuals is the opposite of going from Miss/Mrs. to Ms.

And being forced to refer to individuals with a plural pronoun and a singular verb — “they is” — just makes you sound illiterate. Of course, the humiliation is much of the appeal of imposing your childish demands regarding “your” pronouns on the people around you.

 
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  1. Anon[121] • Disclaimer says:

    I went to college in the mid-2000s, which wasn’t that long ago but seems like eons ago relative to the wokeism of today. Of course colleges were still very left back then, but I don’t think anyone imagined that “nonbinary pronouns” would become a respectable thing. It was also right before smartphones and social media’s takeover of the internet, which seems to have accelerated things.

    When I was in college, while nonbinary pronouns weren’t a thing, what was common to see from younger professors and grad students was the usage of “she” or “s/he” instead of “he” when writing academic papers and referring to a generic 3rd person singular whose sex isn’t identified.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Anon

    Using “she” and “s/he” in academia started in the late 80’s.

    , @JR Ewing
    @Anon

    When I was in college 10-15 years before you, I was admonished once by an adult staff member for writing a letter that began with "Dear Sirs" instead of "Dear Sir / Madam". I learned my lesson at the time and still write it that way today.

    Also when I was in college in the early 90's, I was told once by a gay friend that gay "marriage" was a ludicrous idea and not supported by the local gay student association. ("Why would we ever want to go get married?")

    Point being, it's always a ratchet in the same direction and I'm sure that in the early 2000's gay "marriage" was probably the cause du jour (swidt) and pronouns hadn't caught on yet. Now we are past all of that and the woke kids have some other cause that sounds crazy to us old people.

  2. I’m no Francophile but French opposition to something America does should always be considered as a warning signal.

    People spouting off about “freedom fries” two decades ago led the US into the most unnecessary foreign policy disaster in the country’s history.

    America would be similarly wise to heed French concerns about “wokisme.”

    • Replies: @Wilkey
    @NJ Transit Commuter


    People spouting off about “freedom fries” two decades ago led the US into the most unnecessary foreign policy disaster in the country’s history.
     
    Yep. Just about the most coherent argument that Jonah Goldberg & The National Review could muster up for taking us into war in Iraq was that old "Simpsons" line that the French were a bunch of "cheese eating surrender monkies."

    When scorn and derision are the best arguments someone can make for a political policy, be very, very afraid - whether or not the person making the arguments is supposedly on "your side."

    The fact is that people like the Iraq War-supporting Goldberg were early versions of Trump, who led us into far greater policy disasters than Trump ever did.
    , @Almost Missouri
    @NJ Transit Commuter


    the most unnecessary foreign policy disaster in the country’s history.
     
    Arguably, all the foreign wars were unnecessary and ultimately disastrous. I don't know that Iraq ranks particularly high on that scale.
    , @JMcG
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    Getting involved in the First World War eclipses any of our other foreign policy disasters by a very wide margin.

    , @Bragadocious
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    So Jonah Goldberg = "people?"

    The French are still pissed off about the submarine thing. They take their weapons sales very seriously. They're just finding something else to get agitated about. This is very on brand for France.

    When the French decided Qaddafi had to go, they started that shitshow, and Obama stupidly finished it because the French couldn't pull it off without help. Then the French sat back and watched Libya implode for the next 10 years while saying "huh, quelle dommage."

    But yeah, we should take their advice seriously, because France is a moral superpower.

    Anyway, the trans movement started in Britain, not America.

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @NJ Transit Commuter


    People spouting off about “freedom fries”
     
    Which are Belgian anyway. This summer we ate at a little diner founded by an ancestrally Belgian family in Brussels, Wisconsin. Even they called them "French fries"!

    Not far away there is a Luxemburg founded by Belgians, and a ways down the lakeshore, a Belgium founded by Luxemburgers. You can blame the Post Office for that mix-up; their applications arrived at the same time.
  3. “Sex is more obvious, but often times you still don’t know or are speaking in the hypothetical. Say you witnessed an accident and tell the police: ‘The hit-and-run driver knocked down the old lady and then he took off northbound at 80 mph.’ Using ‘he’ is useful if you could see that the hit-and-run driver was a man, but it can be confusing if you are using ‘he’ to mean ‘he or she’ because you couldn’t tell the sex of the lawbreaker. In something this important, it’s good to spell out “he or she,” but that’s awkward in more casual conversations.”

    Try this, Steve:

    “The hit-and-run driver knocked down the old lady, and then took off northbound at 80 mph.”

    You’re welcome!

    • Replies: @shockedinto
    @D. K.

    Your second clause has no subject, so IT'S not a clause.

    Pronouns are useful and powerful.

    Replies: @D. K.

    , @Dmon
    @D. K.

    “The hit-and-run driver knocked down the old lady, and then took off northbound at 80 mph.”

    Assigning agency to the driver is skating on dangerously thin ice - the driver may turn out to have wokelomatic immunity. Better stick to, "The car knocked down the old lady, and then took off northbound at 80mph".

  4. This article is a prime example of the faux-innocent, oh-my-goodness-I’m-aghast-that-you-have-misunderstood-us! tone establishment Wokistas take when anyone challenges their perversions (linguistic and otherwise). It’s remarkably tiresome.

    As was noted over in the British embassy/Brutalist architecture thread, one of the worst features of our age is how enervatingly boring our evil overlords really are.

    In medieval times the lord of manor and his lady might treat you like muck on a boot, but at least they’d build spectacular castles and churches, and dress up purty and ride big beautiful horses around sometimes so that you’d get an occasional aesthetic thrill. And watching them ride off to fight Saracens or French knights was a lot more interesting than reading dreary accounts of how our betters plan to undermine the walls erected by a gaggle of Gallic grammarians to protect their vernacular.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @The Last Real Calvinist


    This article is a prime example of the faux-innocent, oh-my-goodness-I’m-aghast-that-you-have-misunderstood-us! tone establishment Wokistas take when anyone challenges their perversions...
     
    One term missing from their (few) descriptions of the Waukesha parade "accident" is white supremacist. They know what's going too far-- for public consumption, that is. But how is a Christmas-- they used that word-- parade in a Trump town not white supremacist? The mayor is white, as are at least 13 of the 14 aldermen on the Common Council. Twelve of those are male. It fits their definition like skin-tight rubber gloves.

    (Interestingly, Santa was banned from the parade. No reason is given, but it's in bold print.)

    They went after Andy Ngô for suggesting Darrell Brooks was sympathetic to BLM. You'd think this would be rather obvious. That may be the problem. Like Steve, he dared to notice.

  5. President Emmanuel ➖ has warned that “certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States” may be a threat.

    Derrida and Foucault were American?

    “There is only one French language, only one grammar, and only one Republic.”

    …when it comes to adjectives describing mixed gatherings, they take the masculine form.

    《Il n’y a qu’une langue française, qu’une grammaire et qu’une République.》

    La société, la classe, une manifestation étudiante.

    Une émeute:

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Reg Cæsar

    Good one Reg.

    , @68W58
    @Reg Cæsar

    “Derrida and Foucault were American?”
    Right, suddenly those ideas come back around to bite them and those French philosophers who pushed postmodernism and deconstructionism on the world are suddenly forgotten.

    Replies: @Rosie

    , @tomv
    @Reg Cæsar

    In fairness to the NYT, they were talking about "adjectives" specifically, and that makes sense only in the context of a noun with both masculine and feminine forms that correspond to the biological sexes.

    You are talking about abstractly feminine nouns.

    I side with the devil on this one.

  6. The Robert defines “iel” (pronounced roughly “yell”)…

    Kind of appropriate, that.

  7. @The Last Real Calvinist
    This article is a prime example of the faux-innocent, oh-my-goodness-I'm-aghast-that-you-have-misunderstood-us! tone establishment Wokistas take when anyone challenges their perversions (linguistic and otherwise). It's remarkably tiresome.

    As was noted over in the British embassy/Brutalist architecture thread, one of the worst features of our age is how enervatingly boring our evil overlords really are.

    In medieval times the lord of manor and his lady might treat you like muck on a boot, but at least they'd build spectacular castles and churches, and dress up purty and ride big beautiful horses around sometimes so that you'd get an occasional aesthetic thrill. And watching them ride off to fight Saracens or French knights was a lot more interesting than reading dreary accounts of how our betters plan to undermine the walls erected by a gaggle of Gallic grammarians to protect their vernacular.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    This article is a prime example of the faux-innocent, oh-my-goodness-I’m-aghast-that-you-have-misunderstood-us! tone establishment Wokistas take when anyone challenges their perversions…

    One term missing from their (few) descriptions of the Waukesha parade “accident” is white supremacist. They know what’s going too far– for public consumption, that is. But how is a Christmas– they used that word– parade in a Trump town not white supremacist? The mayor is white, as are at least 13 of the 14 aldermen on the Common Council. Twelve of those are male. It fits their definition like skin-tight rubber gloves.

    (Interestingly, Santa was banned from the parade. No reason is given, but it’s in bold print.)

    They went after Andy Ngô for suggesting Darrell Brooks was sympathetic to BLM. You’d think this would be rather obvious. That may be the problem. Like Steve, he dared to notice.

  8. Language evolves from the grass roots. I was going to say “from the bottom up,” but that would sound bad. It’s true either way. I fight a losing battle with my rustic neighbors, whom I like a lot, over what I perceive as their erroneous speech. They humor me but stubbornly resist my corrections. “Tooken” (as opposed to ‘taken’) is an example of the local mangling of English. “Drinken” is another. It vexes me to no end, but there’s really not much I can do about it.

    The point is that even those of us who love our language and the common people who speak it have little power over the direction it takes. Speech is going to do what it does. Could Virgil have anticipated Dante?

    So I wouldn’t worry too much over the woke effluence issuing forth from the sulphurous bowels of American academia. “Iel” indeed. Nobody is going to use it. It will be forgotten. There will be plenty of words and grammar that rub you, me and plenty of others the wrong way, but they will come out of the “mouths of babes” as they say.

    I can identify with these grumpy old Frenchmen. I have earned that, I think. Railing against violations of convention is a great privilege that comes after a certain age. Sometimes, the young will even take you seriously, which can be very satisfying. But ultimately it is futile, and those who think they can manipulate speech according to some ideological fashion are ridiculous fools.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Bill P


    “Tooken” (as opposed to ‘taken’) is an example of the local mangling of English. “Drinken” is another.
     
    Woke is yet another.
    , @AndrewR
    @Bill P

    It's a bit disturbing the NYT is unironically using the abbreviation "Mx." to refer to a "non-binary" person. Having said this, plenty of languages have no grammatical gender. Persian is a prime example, and one of the few such Indo-European languages. Many Persians who otherwise speak excellent English often mix up he/she/him/her/etc to the point that it legitimately impedes comprehension of what they're saying.

    But more to the point, language evolution does have a bottom-up aspect to it, but centralization and standardization play a big role in slowing down linguistic change.

    , @Rob McX
    @Bill P


    The point is that even those of us who love our language and the common people who speak it have little power over the direction it takes. Speech is going to do what it does.
     
    True. Language changes organically, and never follows rules laid down by even the most dictatorial governments. The changes that do occur are rarely if ever the ones planned by anyone. But I think it's OK to point out ways in which educated (or "educated") people could speak or write better, and how their use of language could be more precise. You can't change the language, but in a small way you can influence how it's used.

    It's strange that no language (none that I know of, anyway) has evolved a generic pronoun specifically for when the speaker doesn't know the sex of the person they're referring to. It would be very easy to add this useful feature, but it never seems to have happened.

    Replies: @Joe Magarac

    , @OldCurmudgeon
    @Bill P

    >Language evolves from the grass roots.

    English does so. French, OTOH, has a committee.

    >but it’s not unreasonable to have quick, convenient ways of expressing the fact that you don’t know something about a person you are talking about.

    OTOH, if it was actually causing problems, English would probably already have said convenient way.

    Replies: @Rosie

  9. @Bill P
    Language evolves from the grass roots. I was going to say "from the bottom up," but that would sound bad. It's true either way. I fight a losing battle with my rustic neighbors, whom I like a lot, over what I perceive as their erroneous speech. They humor me but stubbornly resist my corrections. "Tooken" (as opposed to 'taken') is an example of the local mangling of English. "Drinken" is another. It vexes me to no end, but there's really not much I can do about it.

    The point is that even those of us who love our language and the common people who speak it have little power over the direction it takes. Speech is going to do what it does. Could Virgil have anticipated Dante?

    So I wouldn't worry too much over the woke effluence issuing forth from the sulphurous bowels of American academia. "Iel" indeed. Nobody is going to use it. It will be forgotten. There will be plenty of words and grammar that rub you, me and plenty of others the wrong way, but they will come out of the "mouths of babes" as they say.

    I can identify with these grumpy old Frenchmen. I have earned that, I think. Railing against violations of convention is a great privilege that comes after a certain age. Sometimes, the young will even take you seriously, which can be very satisfying. But ultimately it is futile, and those who think they can manipulate speech according to some ideological fashion are ridiculous fools.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @AndrewR, @Rob McX, @OldCurmudgeon

    “Tooken” (as opposed to ‘taken’) is an example of the local mangling of English. “Drinken” is another.

    Woke is yet another.

  10. We can always take refuge in Armenia or Estonia, havens of genderless pronouns. You’re նա(na) in Armenian and ta in Estonian in the third person, whether you’re he, she, or some attention-seeking misfit who shuns both.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    @Rob McX

    'We can always take refuge in Armenia or Estonia, havens of genderless pronouns. You’re նա(na) in Armenian and ta in Estonian in the third person, whether you’re he, she, or some attention-seeking misfit who shuns both.'

    But wouldn't that defeat the point? How will demanding you be addressed as 'Mx' garner you attention if everyone is addressed as 'Mx'?

    Obviously, we need to continue to have gender in language so that those who lack any other way of compelling others to pay attention to them can insist on being referred to with special pronouns.

    Actually, gender and this pronoun bumph are two distinct issues. We can continue to have gender or not as we please: the point is that if some nonentity wants us to address him as 'Hgr' or whatever he may dream up, we have to do it. For example, I think I'll decide my left-handedness needs to be celebrated: from now on, everyone has to somehow remember to address me as 'Your Leftness.'

    'YLn.' for short. Now don't forget. But you can keep on saying 'his' and 'her' with reference to everybody and everything else -- that's not the point. The point is that I'm special, and unique, and you must keep affirming it.

    It's really just some weird form of aggression. Bullying for people who are afraid to push little old ladies into the gutter.

    , @Anonymous
    @Rob McX


    You’re նա(na) in Armenian and ta in Estonian in the third person, ...
     
    On the other hand, Hebrew forces speakers to distinguish between the feminine and masculine forms even of second person pronouns and verbs (as well as adjectives):

    ? מה אתה אומר ma atah omer? What are you (m) saying (m)?

    ? מה את אומרת ...? ma at omeret? What are you (f) saying (f)?

    Of course, there are plenty of feminist politicians in Israel forced by linguistic circumstance to express their feminist sentiments in this highly gendered language. Dante would have relished the irony.

  11. ‘…And being forced to refer to individuals with a plural pronoun and a singular verb — “they is” — just makes you sound illiterate. Of course, the humiliation is much of the appeal of imposing your childish demands regarding “your” pronouns on the people around you.’

    It occurs to me that I’ve yet to meet anyone who actually does this. Do such individuals exist, or are they like transsexuals — a kind of rhetorical device, as a practical matter never encountered?

  12. I am pretty sure that the ‘character’ Yelle in Fatal Bazooka’s “Parle a ma main” was a name that Michael Yaoun invented to make precisely that joke (he was dressed in drag, and I had never heard of Yelle before or since).

    Je n’en ai rien à foutre (en générale) mais ca semble une FBI – Fausse Bonne Idée.

    But seriously: watch the clip (like all Fatal Bazooka, it’s pretty funny:

    les mec ils sont tous nulls – il pense qu’a nous met les doigts” (“A degeule!“)
    The lads are all zeros – they only think of putting their fingers in us (Ah gross!)

    and

    Mais pour qui tu te prends? C’est bon! T’es pa mon pere!’
    “Who do you take yourself for? It’s nice! YOU’RE NOT MY DAD!”.

    At the end she gives her number as “cent dix-huit, deux-cents dix-huit” (118 218) which used to be the Directory Assistance number for France Télécom.

    Fatal Bazooka and Matt Pokora (esp his track “De Retour“) and Tryo were the source of all the idiomatic French I picked up when The Lovely was seconded to Paris.

    Matt Pokora was kind-of a French Vanilla Ice – although “De Retour” was a pretty good track.

    Fallait pas m’sous-estimer – j’suis pas là pour figurer“. Yeah yeah, skinny white boy.

    And French already has a genderless pronoun: on. “On peut s’installer dehors?” – “May we seat ourselves outside?”

  13. @Bill P
    Language evolves from the grass roots. I was going to say "from the bottom up," but that would sound bad. It's true either way. I fight a losing battle with my rustic neighbors, whom I like a lot, over what I perceive as their erroneous speech. They humor me but stubbornly resist my corrections. "Tooken" (as opposed to 'taken') is an example of the local mangling of English. "Drinken" is another. It vexes me to no end, but there's really not much I can do about it.

    The point is that even those of us who love our language and the common people who speak it have little power over the direction it takes. Speech is going to do what it does. Could Virgil have anticipated Dante?

    So I wouldn't worry too much over the woke effluence issuing forth from the sulphurous bowels of American academia. "Iel" indeed. Nobody is going to use it. It will be forgotten. There will be plenty of words and grammar that rub you, me and plenty of others the wrong way, but they will come out of the "mouths of babes" as they say.

    I can identify with these grumpy old Frenchmen. I have earned that, I think. Railing against violations of convention is a great privilege that comes after a certain age. Sometimes, the young will even take you seriously, which can be very satisfying. But ultimately it is futile, and those who think they can manipulate speech according to some ideological fashion are ridiculous fools.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @AndrewR, @Rob McX, @OldCurmudgeon

    It’s a bit disturbing the NYT is unironically using the abbreviation “Mx.” to refer to a “non-binary” person. Having said this, plenty of languages have no grammatical gender. Persian is a prime example, and one of the few such Indo-European languages. Many Persians who otherwise speak excellent English often mix up he/she/him/her/etc to the point that it legitimately impedes comprehension of what they’re saying.

    But more to the point, language evolution does have a bottom-up aspect to it, but centralization and standardization play a big role in slowing down linguistic change.

  14. @Reg Cæsar

    President Emmanuel ➖ has warned that “certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States” may be a threat.
     
    Derrida and Foucault were American?

    “There is only one French language, only one grammar, and only one Republic.”

    ...when it comes to adjectives describing mixed gatherings, they take the masculine form.
     

    《Il n'y a qu'une langue française, qu'une grammaire et qu'une République.》

    La société, la classe, une manifestation étudiante.

    Une émeute:


    https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/78/590x/paris-1049731.jpg?r=1543174229691

    Replies: @Alden, @68W58, @tomv

    Good one Reg.

  15. Anon[130] • Disclaimer says:

    The choice between he and they as a neuter singular pronoun is the choice between being perceived as sexist and unwoke vs. being perceived (by the people I care about) as being uneducated and stupid. I’ll take sexist.

    I am usually stopped in my tracks when a singular they is used in the media. I always fear that I have missed the antecedent and go back to reread the last few paragraphs. This is not good. Prose should be transparent. On the other hand, themself is clear as day, and clunky.

    I’ve noticed an increase in the use of repeated, spelled-out use of names in articles. I think the writers don’t want to deal with rewriting to make “they” less unclear, so they just repeat the names or titles or job names of the person referred to.

  16. “Perhaps France was always going to have a hard time with nonbinary pronouns. Its language is intensely gender-specific and fiercely protected by august authorities.”

    Protecting its actual territory against endless swarms of Africans and Muslims, not so much.

  17. @Rob McX
    We can always take refuge in Armenia or Estonia, havens of genderless pronouns. You're նա(na) in Armenian and ta in Estonian in the third person, whether you're he, she, or some attention-seeking misfit who shuns both.

    Replies: @Colin Wright, @Anonymous

    ‘We can always take refuge in Armenia or Estonia, havens of genderless pronouns. You’re նա(na) in Armenian and ta in Estonian in the third person, whether you’re he, she, or some attention-seeking misfit who shuns both.’

    But wouldn’t that defeat the point? How will demanding you be addressed as ‘Mx’ garner you attention if everyone is addressed as ‘Mx’?

    Obviously, we need to continue to have gender in language so that those who lack any other way of compelling others to pay attention to them can insist on being referred to with special pronouns.

    Actually, gender and this pronoun bumph are two distinct issues. We can continue to have gender or not as we please: the point is that if some nonentity wants us to address him as ‘Hgr’ or whatever he may dream up, we have to do it. For example, I think I’ll decide my left-handedness needs to be celebrated: from now on, everyone has to somehow remember to address me as ‘Your Leftness.’

    ‘YLn.’ for short. Now don’t forget. But you can keep on saying ‘his’ and ‘her’ with reference to everybody and everything else — that’s not the point. The point is that I’m special, and unique, and you must keep affirming it.

    It’s really just some weird form of aggression. Bullying for people who are afraid to push little old ladies into the gutter.

  18. “…..was very violent.” Bro, you don’t know what violence is.

  19. Lilian Delhomme > Lilian Delfemme

  20. To the advice of Rob McX regarding possible countries in which to take refuge, we can add Finland, Iran and Turkey, where the third-person pronouns “hän”, “u” and “o” do the same job, whether the person is female or male. On the other hand, if I recall correctly, Finnish has a different pronoun if you are talking about a thing or an animal.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    @Lars Moeller-Rasmussen


    On the other hand, if I recall correctly, Finnish has a different pronoun if you are talking about a thing or an animal.
     
    That would be handy, especially if it's unisex. Even the proudest CCL can't really tell the difference on sight.
  21. There are many irregularities in the English language, and some of them should/could be rectified (for instance, as far as I know, in no other European language they say “the police are“; it is always “the police is“; there are, apart from weird spelling (no non-English Western language has regular spelling contests, because it is unnecessary), perhaps 20-40 grammatical inconsistencies).

    But, regarding sex/gender and most other things, English is perfectly logical & “normal”. Wokeness is raping a language by lunatics.

    Why not change other features, just to show you can? Why not, say, eliminate /s/ in conjugation:

    I speak
    You speak
    (S)he speak

    Why not?

    Following the same logic, you could change a zillion characteristics…

  22. France, a country where it is illegal for the state to compile racial statistics…

    Meme of black guy tapping his temple: There’s no Great Replacement if you’re not allowed to notice.

    • LOL: LondonBob
  23. The Froggies are so rarely correct about anything that it is essential to support them on those occasions when they succeed in locating the right end of the stick. So, à bas le wokisme!.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    @dearieme


    The Froggies are so rarely correct about anything that it is essential to support them on those occasions when they succeed in locating the right end of the stick. So, à bas le wokisme!.
     
    The funny thing is, they actually are (arguably) wrong about this, for precisely the reason Steve articulates with his car crash hypothetical. The truth of the matter is that if this reform had been suggested in another context and with a different rationale, it might not have led to a backlash. This is, of course, perfectly understandable, and even rational (in a political if not strictly logical sense). People are sick and tired of being bullied all the time about everything, and this just looks like more harassment to them.
  24. Two thirds of the letters in French are silent anyway, so why do they even care about the new pronouns we’re sending them? At least for the spoken language anyway, even the wokest won’t know if you are making a fow po.

    • Replies: @Mr. Peabody
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Is that a foe paw?

    Replies: @Mr. Peabody

  25. Also, I still make an effort to write or say Miss vs. Mrs. However, you are right that that can take extra effort. I have looked women up on wiki while writing blog posts just for that reason – it does take time. However, I do that to piss off those feminists still alive who started the Ms. thing, so the time is not wasted by any means.

    • Replies: @John Regan
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Also, I still make an effort to write or say Miss vs. Mrs. However, you are right that that can take extra effort. I have looked women up on wiki while writing blog posts just for that reason – it does take time. However, I do that to piss off those feminists still alive who started the Ms. thing, so the time is not wasted by any means.
     
    First: Congratulations, and thanks!

    However much as annoying feminists is a worthy pursuit in itself there is also a more serious dimension to all this that deserves elaboration.

    The entire point of the "Ms" thing was to devalue marriage. Yet one more mechanism of social engineering to convince unmarried women and divorcees that they're just as good as their sisters who became wives and mothers. In isolation it's not a huge thing compared to much else but it was a very deliberate instrument in that war.

    Similarly the "they" thing (and "gender neutral pronouns" more generally) is part of a likewise deliberate but far more audacious effort to deconstruct the two sexes of humanity in public discussion. Wire the kids' brains not to think in binary gender categories so much.

    In both cases it's literal Orwellian Newspeak on a level Orwell himself didn't anticipate. We shouldn't trivialize it as simple laziness or stupidity like some others around here appear to be doing.

    As I like to put it: Never ascribe to stupidity or ineptness any liberal policy that can be more parsimoniously explained as malice aforethought.

    Replies: @Rob McX, @Rosie, @JR Ewing

  26. What’s interesting is that ‘they/them’ as ‘non-binary’ pronouns took off in earnest only after the first major real world defeat to Tumblr nonsense infiltrating the real world.

    There was a point where they tried to introduce ‘neo-pronouns’ a few years ago like ‘Xir/xi’ etc. This was eventually abandoned, partly because non-Tumblr users and Tumblr users above the age of 19 tended not to use them but also because they had become a potent totem of satire by the unwoke and were unworkable since there were so many bespoke ones that it would be impossible to implement.

    Here is a picture of a Google event where they had a whole array of neo-pronoun name tags for attendees.

    Below you can see the original Tumblr BPD vigor of the pronouns in contrast to the sterile Google corporate version in the above picture.

    Weirdly there was no mass suicide event from neo-pronoun users being invalidated.

    Well no we’ve run out of new woke things so they’re making a bit of a comeback, now on Twitter where Tumblr-like enclaves have been festering for many years now.

    Now we may not see a real world return of ‘Xi/Xhir’. But ‘It/It’s’ is a new standardised pronoun for people who want every to know they have BPD.

    https://twitter.com/search?q=it%2Fits%20pronoun&src=typed_query

    Some of the twitter posts on ‘It/It’s’ mention how either it or ‘They/Them’ don’t work as pronouns in the native languages of the users. Needless to say 100% of the people not mocking said pronouns have BPD or some other cluster B disorder.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Altai

    Wait … you mean they didn’t have Who/Whom?

  27. In your example of the hit and run driver, just leave out the “he” altogether. The meaning of the sentence doesn’t suffer at all.

  28. Roger Cohen is hardly the wokiest of the NYT gang, but he isn’t going to rock the boat. He is often called on by French media; he speaks French very well, he is always calm, and he is reliably anti-Trump, anti-racism, anti-antisemitism etc. If Ron Unz is reading this, might I suggest that he ask “Guillaume Durocher” to write about the recent speech-crime prosecution of Cassandre Fristot (and maybe that of Jerome Bourbon as well).

  29. @D. K.
    "Sex is more obvious, but often times you still don’t know or are speaking in the hypothetical. Say you witnessed an accident and tell the police: 'The hit-and-run driver knocked down the old lady and then he took off northbound at 80 mph.' Using 'he' is useful if you could see that the hit-and-run driver was a man, but it can be confusing if you are using 'he' to mean 'he or she' because you couldn’t tell the sex of the lawbreaker. In something this important, it’s good to spell out “he or she,” but that’s awkward in more casual conversations."

    Try this, Steve:

    "The hit-and-run driver knocked down the old lady, and then took off northbound at 80 mph."

    You're welcome!

    Replies: @shockedinto, @Dmon

    Your second clause has no subject, so IT’S not a clause.

    Pronouns are useful and powerful.

    • Agree: Rosie
    • Replies: @D. K.
    @shockedinto

    "Your second clause has no subject, so IT’S not a clause.

    "Pronouns are useful and powerful."

    Since (a) the subject is the same, (b) the meaning is clear, and (c) it obviates the very problem which the hypothetical witness has, my sentence is quite proper. That, at any rate, would have been the common opinion, back when I earned my degree in English, forty-some years ago, and during my many years of writing for a living.

  30. The use of the masculine pronoun in English for someone of unknown sex comes from feminism long ago, not this new wokeness. (I’m pretty sure there have been many discussions of that in the comments here before.) Two things:

    1) It gets really, really stupid when the sex is KNOWN to be female, yet the writer wants to be very careful. I swear I have read “It’s important that this health tip not be practiced by someone having their period.” Geeze, sounds like a bloody mess!

    2) The kids in elementary school are picking up the habit of saying “person” for some kid of known sex. “We had a new person in class that moved down here from Anytown, USA.” I “kid” you not, that’s what my boy said. “Well, is is a boy or girl? Why don’t you just say it like that?” I’d be fine if he just said “a new kid” even, because at least that’s kid’s talk.

    • Agree: John Regan
    • Replies: @Adam Smith
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Top of the morning Mr. Newman,

    The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals with a cervix follow these guidelines to help find cervical cancer early...

    https://i.ibb.co/rkWZLDz/FAetq83-Xs-Agy-DDx.jpg

    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/images/freeresources/print-thumbnails/pregnant/pregnant-people-at-risk.JPG

    https://spectatorau.imgix.net/content/uploads/2021/10/the-lancet-bodies-with-vaginas-cover.jpeg

    https://twitter.com/titaniamcgrath/status/1441512844135182337

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    , @anon
    @Achmed E. Newman


    The use of the masculine pronoun in English for someone of unknown sex comes from feminism long ago
     
    When was this? I'd love to read more.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

  31. In the current year, sodomy is the face of Yankee imperialism.

    … and vive la différence is hate speech.

  32. I recall reading somewhere that sometime back in time “our” language – maybe early Anglo-Saxon, maybe something earlier from mainland Germany, or way-back in Proto-Indo-European – there were pronouns for male and female and neutral but animate (not “it” instead a word referencing something alive). Presumably the neutral seems to have died out as not being helpful: the pronouns with gender make telling a tale about human actors easier and more concise.

    Can any of the high-level commenters here confirm or debunk this idea.

    Also how did this happen: How did Proto-Indo-European seemingly appear from nowhere with all sorts of structures; and now n-thousands of years later English, it’s favored daughter, seems relatively simplified?

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    @shockedinto

    English is the oldest of the Germanic languages, and thus the most simplistic, the further the distance, the less evolution, hence why Americans still use 17th century English accents, or Latin Americans 17th century Castilian Spanish.

    , @Alrenous
    @shockedinto

    Old English pronouns:
    https://en.m.wikibooks.org/wiki/Old_English/Pronouns

    English became a horrible franken-pidgin because everyone high-class (=smart) stopped speaking it for a century or two, meaning only lower-class words and lower-class grammar survived. http://thehistoryofenglish.com/history_middle.html
    When they went back to speaking English they had to graft on a bunch of Latin cognates because everyone had forgotten the original verbiage.

    Fun fact: despite Godwin's law, the proto-indo-Europeans did in fact call themselves Aryan. I guess they hadn't heard of the internet or something. They didn't appear out of nowhere, but nevertheless seemed to because the archives are incomplete.

  33. After Foucault perhaps there is forgiveness.

  34. @Achmed E. Newman
    Also, I still make an effort to write or say Miss vs. Mrs. However, you are right that that can take extra effort. I have looked women up on wiki while writing blog posts just for that reason - it does take time. However, I do that to piss off those feminists still alive who started the Ms. thing, so the time is not wasted by any means.

    Replies: @John Regan

    Also, I still make an effort to write or say Miss vs. Mrs. However, you are right that that can take extra effort. I have looked women up on wiki while writing blog posts just for that reason – it does take time. However, I do that to piss off those feminists still alive who started the Ms. thing, so the time is not wasted by any means.

    First: Congratulations, and thanks!

    However much as annoying feminists is a worthy pursuit in itself there is also a more serious dimension to all this that deserves elaboration.

    The entire point of the “Ms” thing was to devalue marriage. Yet one more mechanism of social engineering to convince unmarried women and divorcees that they’re just as good as their sisters who became wives and mothers. In isolation it’s not a huge thing compared to much else but it was a very deliberate instrument in that war.

    Similarly the “they” thing (and “gender neutral pronouns” more generally) is part of a likewise deliberate but far more audacious effort to deconstruct the two sexes of humanity in public discussion. Wire the kids’ brains not to think in binary gender categories so much.

    In both cases it’s literal Orwellian Newspeak on a level Orwell himself didn’t anticipate. We shouldn’t trivialize it as simple laziness or stupidity like some others around here appear to be doing.

    As I like to put it: Never ascribe to stupidity or ineptness any liberal policy that can be more parsimoniously explained as malice aforethought.

    • Thanks: Achmed E. Newman
    • Replies: @Rob McX
    @John Regan

    I read somewhere that Ms was first used by US mail order companies in the 1940s or 1950s to simplify the addressing of letters and packages.

    Replies: @John Regan

    , @Rosie
    @John Regan


    The entire point of the “Ms” thing was to devalue marriage. Yet one more mechanism of social engineering to convince unmarried women and divorcees that they’re just as good as their sisters who became wives and mothers. In isolation it’s not a huge thing compared to much else but it was a very deliberate instrument in that war.
     
    Hmmm. I'm not at all sure that your claimed pretext is accurate. I always assumed it had to do with protecting married women from discrimination. Of course, I could certainly be wrong about that. But then, if separate titles are to be used to shame unmarried women, the question arises whether it was ever appropriate to shame the goose but not the gander. Of course, if you assume that rights are for men and duties are for women, as you and Mr. Newman do, the double standard would make perfect sense.
    , @JR Ewing
    @John Regan


    Similarly the “they” thing (and “gender neutral pronouns” more generally) is part of a likewise deliberate but far more audacious effort to deconstruct the two sexes of humanity in public discussion. Wire the kids’ brains not to think in binary gender categories so much.
     
    ---------------

    I've been screaming about this for a long time. It's not about being "polite" or anything like that, it's about training people how to think in the approved way.

    These are *3rd person* pronouns we are talking about. They are used when the subject (antecedent) isn't part of the conversation. They are used to talk about someone, not to them, so if that's the case, why should the subject care what words you are using in a separate conversation with another person?

    In this case, they care because if you use traditional pronouns to describe a person - for instance, if you use "he" to describe a man in a dress pretending to be a woman - then that means you don't actually believe that man is really a woman now. Language controls thoughts. So they have to police your private language to ensure that you are thinking the right way. If you can are no longer to refer to that man as a man, then eventually you will won't be able to think that man is a man.

    It's all literally Orwellian.

  35. … Most Americans would be astonished to discover that what Mr. Jolivet called the woke movement — which he described as an insult to everyone else who is “supposedly asleep” — is really about attacking France.

    Of course it is about attacking France.

    Minoritarianism–for which “wokeism” is the crazed vanguard–is precisely about attacking nations. A people living in their homeland according to their own–normie, native majority–norms, values, traditions, culture.

    It’s just that it wokeism isn’t about attacking only France.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    @AnotherDad


    In a Nonbinary Pronoun, France Sees a U.S. Attack on the Republic
     
    Yes, they are right, it is an attack on France. They only miss that it is not just France. It is an attack on the entire world, on reality itself. Wokeness is bioleninism: the unfit avenging themselves on reality for their own failure.

    To the Frenchman, who awakes in the morning looking forward to a whole day of being French [didn't I originally read that here?], he perceives it as an attack on France coming from America because his sphere of reference is France and Frenchness, but France is just one front in a global conflict, much of which is channeled through America because much of everything is channeled through America now.
  36. @Bill P
    Language evolves from the grass roots. I was going to say "from the bottom up," but that would sound bad. It's true either way. I fight a losing battle with my rustic neighbors, whom I like a lot, over what I perceive as their erroneous speech. They humor me but stubbornly resist my corrections. "Tooken" (as opposed to 'taken') is an example of the local mangling of English. "Drinken" is another. It vexes me to no end, but there's really not much I can do about it.

    The point is that even those of us who love our language and the common people who speak it have little power over the direction it takes. Speech is going to do what it does. Could Virgil have anticipated Dante?

    So I wouldn't worry too much over the woke effluence issuing forth from the sulphurous bowels of American academia. "Iel" indeed. Nobody is going to use it. It will be forgotten. There will be plenty of words and grammar that rub you, me and plenty of others the wrong way, but they will come out of the "mouths of babes" as they say.

    I can identify with these grumpy old Frenchmen. I have earned that, I think. Railing against violations of convention is a great privilege that comes after a certain age. Sometimes, the young will even take you seriously, which can be very satisfying. But ultimately it is futile, and those who think they can manipulate speech according to some ideological fashion are ridiculous fools.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @AndrewR, @Rob McX, @OldCurmudgeon

    The point is that even those of us who love our language and the common people who speak it have little power over the direction it takes. Speech is going to do what it does.

    True. Language changes organically, and never follows rules laid down by even the most dictatorial governments. The changes that do occur are rarely if ever the ones planned by anyone. But I think it’s OK to point out ways in which educated (or “educated”) people could speak or write better, and how their use of language could be more precise. You can’t change the language, but in a small way you can influence how it’s used.

    It’s strange that no language (none that I know of, anyway) has evolved a generic pronoun specifically for when the speaker doesn’t know the sex of the person they’re referring to. It would be very easy to add this useful feature, but it never seems to have happened.

    • Replies: @Joe Magarac
    @Rob McX


    ... a generic pronoun specifically for when the speaker doesn’t know the sex of the person they’re referring to
     
    Hungarian. One gender non-specific third person singular pronoun, period.

    Doesn't mean they are "woke", that's just their language.

    Ő egy férfi. Ő egy nő. == He is a man. She is a woman.

    Replies: @HFR

  37. Having spent some time learning French declension, I’m grateful to hear there is at least one hill the Cheese-eating surrender monkeys will die on.

    Vive la France !

  38. @Achmed E. Newman
    Two thirds of the letters in French are silent anyway, so why do they even care about the new pronouns we're sending them? At least for the spoken language anyway, even the wokest won't know if you are making a fow po.

    Replies: @Mr. Peabody

    Is that a foe paw?

    • Replies: @Mr. Peabody
    @Mr. Peabody

    Or...a foe, Pa'?

  39. @Mr. Peabody
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Is that a foe paw?

    Replies: @Mr. Peabody

    Or…a foe, Pa’?

    • LOL: Achmed E. Newman
  40. @NJ Transit Commuter
    I’m no Francophile but French opposition to something America does should always be considered as a warning signal.

    People spouting off about “freedom fries” two decades ago led the US into the most unnecessary foreign policy disaster in the country’s history.

    America would be similarly wise to heed French concerns about “wokisme.”

    Replies: @Wilkey, @Almost Missouri, @JMcG, @Bragadocious, @Reg Cæsar

    People spouting off about “freedom fries” two decades ago led the US into the most unnecessary foreign policy disaster in the country’s history.

    Yep. Just about the most coherent argument that Jonah Goldberg & The National Review could muster up for taking us into war in Iraq was that old “Simpsons” line that the French were a bunch of “cheese eating surrender monkies.”

    When scorn and derision are the best arguments someone can make for a political policy, be very, very afraid – whether or not the person making the arguments is supposedly on “your side.”

    The fact is that people like the Iraq War-supporting Goldberg were early versions of Trump, who led us into far greater policy disasters than Trump ever did.

  41. @D. K.
    "Sex is more obvious, but often times you still don’t know or are speaking in the hypothetical. Say you witnessed an accident and tell the police: 'The hit-and-run driver knocked down the old lady and then he took off northbound at 80 mph.' Using 'he' is useful if you could see that the hit-and-run driver was a man, but it can be confusing if you are using 'he' to mean 'he or she' because you couldn’t tell the sex of the lawbreaker. In something this important, it’s good to spell out “he or she,” but that’s awkward in more casual conversations."

    Try this, Steve:

    "The hit-and-run driver knocked down the old lady, and then took off northbound at 80 mph."

    You're welcome!

    Replies: @shockedinto, @Dmon

    “The hit-and-run driver knocked down the old lady, and then took off northbound at 80 mph.”

    Assigning agency to the driver is skating on dangerously thin ice – the driver may turn out to have wokelomatic immunity. Better stick to, “The car knocked down the old lady, and then took off northbound at 80mph”.

    • LOL: Rosie
  42. @Achmed E. Newman
    The use of the masculine pronoun in English for someone of unknown sex comes from feminism long ago, not this new wokeness. (I'm pretty sure there have been many discussions of that in the comments here before.) Two things:

    1) It gets really, really stupid when the sex is KNOWN to be female, yet the writer wants to be very careful. I swear I have read "It's important that this health tip not be practiced by someone having their period." Geeze, sounds like a bloody mess!

    2) The kids in elementary school are picking up the habit of saying "person" for some kid of known sex. "We had a new person in class that moved down here from Anytown, USA." I "kid" you not, that's what my boy said. "Well, is is a boy or girl? Why don't you just say it like that?" I'd be fine if he just said "a new kid" even, because at least that's kid's talk.

    Replies: @Adam Smith, @anon

    Top of the morning Mr. Newman,

    The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals with a cervix follow these guidelines to help find cervical cancer early…

    • Thanks: Achmed E. Newman
    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Adam Smith

    Cervix, huh? I'll have to ask my general practitioner. He should be able to find it with one of those ultrasound thingies, if I got one...

    Of course, The Office covered some of this (skip to 0:25):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibQ9r_C5UBc

    Replies: @Adam Smith

  43. @Rob McX
    @Bill P


    The point is that even those of us who love our language and the common people who speak it have little power over the direction it takes. Speech is going to do what it does.
     
    True. Language changes organically, and never follows rules laid down by even the most dictatorial governments. The changes that do occur are rarely if ever the ones planned by anyone. But I think it's OK to point out ways in which educated (or "educated") people could speak or write better, and how their use of language could be more precise. You can't change the language, but in a small way you can influence how it's used.

    It's strange that no language (none that I know of, anyway) has evolved a generic pronoun specifically for when the speaker doesn't know the sex of the person they're referring to. It would be very easy to add this useful feature, but it never seems to have happened.

    Replies: @Joe Magarac

    … a generic pronoun specifically for when the speaker doesn’t know the sex of the person they’re referring to

    Hungarian. One gender non-specific third person singular pronoun, period.

    Doesn’t mean they are “woke”, that’s just their language.

    Ő egy férfi. Ő egy nő. == He is a man. She is a woman.

    • Thanks: Rob McX
    • Replies: @HFR
    @Joe Magarac

    I wondered when we'd get to Hungarian. While Google-translation of Hungarian to English has improved, there is still a completely arbitrary sprinkling of "he" and "she" throughout a text. I doubt that Google will ever be able to get this right.

  44. @Achmed E. Newman
    The use of the masculine pronoun in English for someone of unknown sex comes from feminism long ago, not this new wokeness. (I'm pretty sure there have been many discussions of that in the comments here before.) Two things:

    1) It gets really, really stupid when the sex is KNOWN to be female, yet the writer wants to be very careful. I swear I have read "It's important that this health tip not be practiced by someone having their period." Geeze, sounds like a bloody mess!

    2) The kids in elementary school are picking up the habit of saying "person" for some kid of known sex. "We had a new person in class that moved down here from Anytown, USA." I "kid" you not, that's what my boy said. "Well, is is a boy or girl? Why don't you just say it like that?" I'd be fine if he just said "a new kid" even, because at least that's kid's talk.

    Replies: @Adam Smith, @anon

    The use of the masculine pronoun in English for someone of unknown sex comes from feminism long ago

    When was this? I’d love to read more.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @anon

    Anon-#177, I've been missing negatives today (did that in a reply to Jack D.) I meant that this use of "their" for "his", etc started during the feminist push way back (for me, anyway), as it was "sexist" to use male pronouns as defaults.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  45. This is the backdrop to the “iel” explosion, which the left-wing newspaper Libération described under the headline “The Highway to Iel.”

    Pas mal.

    • Replies: @Rob McX
    @Ghost of Bull Moose

    Iellow journalism.

  46. @Reg Cæsar

    President Emmanuel ➖ has warned that “certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States” may be a threat.
     
    Derrida and Foucault were American?

    “There is only one French language, only one grammar, and only one Republic.”

    ...when it comes to adjectives describing mixed gatherings, they take the masculine form.
     

    《Il n'y a qu'une langue française, qu'une grammaire et qu'une République.》

    La société, la classe, une manifestation étudiante.

    Une émeute:


    https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/78/590x/paris-1049731.jpg?r=1543174229691

    Replies: @Alden, @68W58, @tomv

    “Derrida and Foucault were American?”
    Right, suddenly those ideas come back around to bite them and those French philosophers who pushed postmodernism and deconstructionism on the world are suddenly forgotten.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    @68W58


    “Derrida and Foucault were American?”
    Right, suddenly those ideas come back around to bite them and those French philosophers who pushed postmodernism and deconstructionism on the world are suddenly forgotten.
     
    I don't think they pushed it on the world so much as got adopted and boosted by the American academic establishment. Only in literature, though, American philosophy departments have never had any use for such refuse.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @68W58

  47. In English, the masculine includes the feminine unless the context forbids it. Therefore, it is proper to use the pronoun he when you don’t know the sex of the person.

  48. @Bill P
    Language evolves from the grass roots. I was going to say "from the bottom up," but that would sound bad. It's true either way. I fight a losing battle with my rustic neighbors, whom I like a lot, over what I perceive as their erroneous speech. They humor me but stubbornly resist my corrections. "Tooken" (as opposed to 'taken') is an example of the local mangling of English. "Drinken" is another. It vexes me to no end, but there's really not much I can do about it.

    The point is that even those of us who love our language and the common people who speak it have little power over the direction it takes. Speech is going to do what it does. Could Virgil have anticipated Dante?

    So I wouldn't worry too much over the woke effluence issuing forth from the sulphurous bowels of American academia. "Iel" indeed. Nobody is going to use it. It will be forgotten. There will be plenty of words and grammar that rub you, me and plenty of others the wrong way, but they will come out of the "mouths of babes" as they say.

    I can identify with these grumpy old Frenchmen. I have earned that, I think. Railing against violations of convention is a great privilege that comes after a certain age. Sometimes, the young will even take you seriously, which can be very satisfying. But ultimately it is futile, and those who think they can manipulate speech according to some ideological fashion are ridiculous fools.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @AndrewR, @Rob McX, @OldCurmudgeon

    >Language evolves from the grass roots.

    English does so. French, OTOH, has a committee.

    >but it’s not unreasonable to have quick, convenient ways of expressing the fact that you don’t know something about a person you are talking about.

    OTOH, if it was actually causing problems, English would probably already have said convenient way.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    @OldCurmudgeon


    OTOH, if it was actually causing problems, English would probably already have said convenient way.
     
    Not necessarily. We don’t have a second-person plural, either.

    Replies: @JMcG

  49. As opposed to the global spread of American Wokeness, which isn’t “virulent” at all and isn’t provoked by the furor of its proponents.

    Define “Wokeness.”

    • Replies: @Getaclue
    @Anonymous

    You are kidding right? Hopefully you are not this dim....

  50. @AnotherDad

    … Most Americans would be astonished to discover that what Mr. Jolivet called the woke movement — which he described as an insult to everyone else who is “supposedly asleep” — is really about attacking France.
     
    Of course it is about attacking France.

    Minoritarianism--for which "wokeism" is the crazed vanguard--is precisely about attacking nations. A people living in their homeland according to their own--normie, native majority--norms, values, traditions, culture.

    It's just that it wokeism isn't about attacking only France.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri

    In a Nonbinary Pronoun, France Sees a U.S. Attack on the Republic

    Yes, they are right, it is an attack on France. They only miss that it is not just France. It is an attack on the entire world, on reality itself. Wokeness is bioleninism: the unfit avenging themselves on reality for their own failure.

    To the Frenchman, who awakes in the morning looking forward to a whole day of being French [didn’t I originally read that here?], he perceives it as an attack on France coming from America because his sphere of reference is France and Frenchness, but France is just one front in a global conflict, much of which is channeled through America because much of everything is channeled through America now.

  51. Lilian Delhomme, 24, a gender-nonconforming student of international affairs at the University of Paris 8 who has been using the pronoun “iel” for about a year, was appalled by Ms. Macron’s statement.

    He/she/iel might want to do something about that surname.

  52. @NJ Transit Commuter
    I’m no Francophile but French opposition to something America does should always be considered as a warning signal.

    People spouting off about “freedom fries” two decades ago led the US into the most unnecessary foreign policy disaster in the country’s history.

    America would be similarly wise to heed French concerns about “wokisme.”

    Replies: @Wilkey, @Almost Missouri, @JMcG, @Bragadocious, @Reg Cæsar

    the most unnecessary foreign policy disaster in the country’s history.

    Arguably, all the foreign wars were unnecessary and ultimately disastrous. I don’t know that Iraq ranks particularly high on that scale.

    • Agree: Hibernian
  53. @Ghost of Bull Moose

    This is the backdrop to the “iel” explosion, which the left-wing newspaper Libération described under the headline “The Highway to Iel.”
     
    Pas mal.

    Replies: @Rob McX

    Iellow journalism.

  54. Anonymous[311] • Disclaimer says:

    “Of course, being forced to memorize idiosyncratic pronouns to celebrate the fetishes, confusions, and whims of individuals is the opposite of going from Miss/Mrs. to Ms.”

    Except none of them are symptomatic of a fetish: https://www.reddit.com/r/asktransgender/comments/9nfn40/resource_debunking_autogynephiliablanchardianism/

    “And being forced to refer to individuals with a plural pronoun and a singular verb — “they is” — just makes you sound illiterate. Of course, the humiliation is much of the appeal of imposing your childish demands regarding “your” pronouns on the people around you.”

    Shakespeare used They as a pronoun you illiterate dunce:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=they+pronoun+Shakespeare&oq=they+pronoun+Shakespeare&aqs=chrome..69i57.5513j0j7&client=tablet-android-verizon&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8

    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002748.html#:~:text=So%20even%20the%20reflexive%20form,spelled%20everyone%20in%20modern%20English).&text=By%20all%20means%2C%20avoid%20using,feel%20you%20cannot%20bear%20it.

    “Say you witnessed an accident and tell the police: “The hit-and-run driver knocked down the old lady and then he took off northbound at 80 mph.” Using “he” is useful if you could see that the hit-and-run driver was a man, but it can be confusing if you are using “he” to mean “he or she” because you couldn’t tell the sex of the lawbreaker. In something this important, it’s good to spell out “he or she,” but that’s awkward in more casual conversations.”

    Off course “he and she” aren’t being banned so you can still use them in this case.

  55. “ “You must not manipulate the French language, whatever the cause,” he said, expressing support for the view that “iel” was an expression of “wokisme.”

    Then;

    “ France, a country where it is illegal for the state to compile racial statistics.”

    As the SS Le Titanic slips beneath the waves, the passengers save their outrage for American Wokeism campaign to repaint the deck chairs.

    • Agree: Rob McX
  56. @NJ Transit Commuter
    I’m no Francophile but French opposition to something America does should always be considered as a warning signal.

    People spouting off about “freedom fries” two decades ago led the US into the most unnecessary foreign policy disaster in the country’s history.

    America would be similarly wise to heed French concerns about “wokisme.”

    Replies: @Wilkey, @Almost Missouri, @JMcG, @Bragadocious, @Reg Cæsar

    Getting involved in the First World War eclipses any of our other foreign policy disasters by a very wide margin.

  57. @Anon
    I went to college in the mid-2000s, which wasn't that long ago but seems like eons ago relative to the wokeism of today. Of course colleges were still very left back then, but I don't think anyone imagined that "nonbinary pronouns" would become a respectable thing. It was also right before smartphones and social media's takeover of the internet, which seems to have accelerated things.

    When I was in college, while nonbinary pronouns weren't a thing, what was common to see from younger professors and grad students was the usage of "she" or "s/he" instead of "he" when writing academic papers and referring to a generic 3rd person singular whose sex isn't identified.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @JR Ewing

    Using “she” and “s/he” in academia started in the late 80’s.

  58. Jean-Michel Blanquer, the education minister, … Mr. Blanquer:
    — “Mr.”? What happened to “M.” (=Monsieur)?

    The Robert [dictionary] defines “iel” (pronounced roughly “yell”) as “a third person subject pronoun in the singular and plural used to evoke a person of any gender.”
    — “in the plural” but evoking (not “denoting” or “referring to”?) “a” (singular) person?

    Ms. Macron … Mx. Delhomme
    — What’s the difference between “Ms.” and “Mx.”? And how do you pronounce “Mx.”?

    The Académie … . Its secretary-in-perpetuity, Hélène Carrère d’Encausse
    — So five billion years hence, after Earth has been vaporized by an expanding Sun, Hélène Carrère d’Encausse will *still* be the secretary of the Académie.

    “There is only one French language, only one grammar, and only one Republic.”
    — Only one Republic? I thought France was already on its
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Fifth_Republic

  59. @Lars Moeller-Rasmussen
    To the advice of Rob McX regarding possible countries in which to take refuge, we can add Finland, Iran and Turkey, where the third-person pronouns "hän", "u" and "o" do the same job, whether the person is female or male. On the other hand, if I recall correctly, Finnish has a different pronoun if you are talking about a thing or an animal.

    Replies: @Rosie

    On the other hand, if I recall correctly, Finnish has a different pronoun if you are talking about a thing or an animal.

    That would be handy, especially if it’s unisex. Even the proudest CCL can’t really tell the difference on sight.

  60. Zemore I learn about that Algerian Jew grabbing Marine Le Pen’s identitarian issues in France, the more I am inclined to think that the voters in the USA are ready for the use of the phrase WHITE GENOCIDE to describe the use of mass legal immigration and mass illegal immigration as demographic weapons to flood out and replace the European Christian ancestral core of the USA.

    Zemmour should rhetorically pound the snot out of that Rothschild rodent named Macron to prepare the way for Marine Le Pen to win in 2022.

  61. @dearieme
    The Froggies are so rarely correct about anything that it is essential to support them on those occasions when they succeed in locating the right end of the stick. So, à bas le wokisme!.

    Replies: @Rosie

    The Froggies are so rarely correct about anything that it is essential to support them on those occasions when they succeed in locating the right end of the stick. So, à bas le wokisme!.

    The funny thing is, they actually are (arguably) wrong about this, for precisely the reason Steve articulates with his car crash hypothetical. The truth of the matter is that if this reform had been suggested in another context and with a different rationale, it might not have led to a backlash. This is, of course, perfectly understandable, and even rational (in a political if not strictly logical sense). People are sick and tired of being bullied all the time about everything, and this just looks like more harassment to them.

  62. @68W58
    @Reg Cæsar

    “Derrida and Foucault were American?”
    Right, suddenly those ideas come back around to bite them and those French philosophers who pushed postmodernism and deconstructionism on the world are suddenly forgotten.

    Replies: @Rosie

    “Derrida and Foucault were American?”
    Right, suddenly those ideas come back around to bite them and those French philosophers who pushed postmodernism and deconstructionism on the world are suddenly forgotten.

    I don’t think they pushed it on the world so much as got adopted and boosted by the American academic establishment. Only in literature, though, American philosophy departments have never had any use for such refuse.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Rosie


    I don’t think they pushed it on the world so much as got adopted and boosted by the American academic establishment. Only in literature, though, American philosophy departments have never had any use for such refuse.
     
    Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex had a greater impact in America than it did back home. Sometimes we Yanks can be really stupid.
    , @68W58
    @Rosie

    I can’t speak to philosophy, but there was quite a bit of “postmodern theory” in some of the social sciences over the past 20-25 years, particularly Anthropology and Sociology. I think you are right about literature, the first time I can remember being exposed to those concepts was when reading Paglia’s “Sexual Personae” 25 years ago or so and she’s a humanities prof.

  63. @John Regan
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Also, I still make an effort to write or say Miss vs. Mrs. However, you are right that that can take extra effort. I have looked women up on wiki while writing blog posts just for that reason – it does take time. However, I do that to piss off those feminists still alive who started the Ms. thing, so the time is not wasted by any means.
     
    First: Congratulations, and thanks!

    However much as annoying feminists is a worthy pursuit in itself there is also a more serious dimension to all this that deserves elaboration.

    The entire point of the "Ms" thing was to devalue marriage. Yet one more mechanism of social engineering to convince unmarried women and divorcees that they're just as good as their sisters who became wives and mothers. In isolation it's not a huge thing compared to much else but it was a very deliberate instrument in that war.

    Similarly the "they" thing (and "gender neutral pronouns" more generally) is part of a likewise deliberate but far more audacious effort to deconstruct the two sexes of humanity in public discussion. Wire the kids' brains not to think in binary gender categories so much.

    In both cases it's literal Orwellian Newspeak on a level Orwell himself didn't anticipate. We shouldn't trivialize it as simple laziness or stupidity like some others around here appear to be doing.

    As I like to put it: Never ascribe to stupidity or ineptness any liberal policy that can be more parsimoniously explained as malice aforethought.

    Replies: @Rob McX, @Rosie, @JR Ewing

    I read somewhere that Ms was first used by US mail order companies in the 1940s or 1950s to simplify the addressing of letters and packages.

    • Replies: @John Regan
    @Rob McX

    I wouldn't be surprised if it was used occasionally in some previous historical context or other. Just as the wokesters are able to cite occasional singular use of "they" here and there in the corpus of the English language even hundreds of years ago.

    The push within our lifetimes to impose these revisions on the language as a whole most certainly was not initiated to simplify addressing though.

  64. American “culture” fills the world’s airwaves with the vile lyrics of rap and yet they complain about this. Well maybe it’s a start.

  65. @Adam Smith
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Top of the morning Mr. Newman,

    The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals with a cervix follow these guidelines to help find cervical cancer early...

    https://i.ibb.co/rkWZLDz/FAetq83-Xs-Agy-DDx.jpg

    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/images/freeresources/print-thumbnails/pregnant/pregnant-people-at-risk.JPG

    https://spectatorau.imgix.net/content/uploads/2021/10/the-lancet-bodies-with-vaginas-cover.jpeg

    https://twitter.com/titaniamcgrath/status/1441512844135182337

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    Cervix, huh? I’ll have to ask my general practitioner. He should be able to find it with one of those ultrasound thingies, if I got one…

    Of course, The Office covered some of this (skip to 0:25):

    • Thanks: Adam Smith
    • Replies: @Adam Smith
    @Achmed E. Newman

    An inverted penis does not a vagina make.

  66. Anon[280] • Disclaimer says:

    “Intelligibility has been a very strong norm in French culture for the almost four centuries since the Classic prose style emerged in the age of Descartes and Pascal. American wokesters, in contrast, are less inclined to write lucidly enough that their ideas can be rigorously evaluated by outsiders.”

    A half-truth – and the other half is the French love their inscrutability as well. Much of continental philosophy is unreadable. And what’s wokism but revenge for postmodernism? They fired Foucault over the Atlantic, as if by trebuchet. Responding with a fiery ball of Kendi seems only sporting.

  67. Anonymous[407] • Disclaimer says:

    And being forced to refer to individuals with a plural pronoun and a singular verb — “they is” — just makes you sound illiterate.

    Bougie college-loving N. American scum are *WAY* more wary of deplorable/down-market stigmata than of sounding illiterate. Yet perhaps the illiterate — of whichever race — back this conspiracy for such materialist reasons, because making bad form fashionable is inevitably a short-term boon to the intellectually less abled; while the old guard of social elitists has to run ever faster, a la the Red Queen.

  68. @Rob McX
    @John Regan

    I read somewhere that Ms was first used by US mail order companies in the 1940s or 1950s to simplify the addressing of letters and packages.

    Replies: @John Regan

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was used occasionally in some previous historical context or other. Just as the wokesters are able to cite occasional singular use of “they” here and there in the corpus of the English language even hundreds of years ago.

    The push within our lifetimes to impose these revisions on the language as a whole most certainly was not initiated to simplify addressing though.

  69. @Anonymous

    As opposed to the global spread of American Wokeness, which isn’t “virulent” at all and isn’t provoked by the furor of its proponents.
     
    Define “Wokeness.”

    Replies: @Getaclue

    You are kidding right? Hopefully you are not this dim….

  70. @John Regan
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Also, I still make an effort to write or say Miss vs. Mrs. However, you are right that that can take extra effort. I have looked women up on wiki while writing blog posts just for that reason – it does take time. However, I do that to piss off those feminists still alive who started the Ms. thing, so the time is not wasted by any means.
     
    First: Congratulations, and thanks!

    However much as annoying feminists is a worthy pursuit in itself there is also a more serious dimension to all this that deserves elaboration.

    The entire point of the "Ms" thing was to devalue marriage. Yet one more mechanism of social engineering to convince unmarried women and divorcees that they're just as good as their sisters who became wives and mothers. In isolation it's not a huge thing compared to much else but it was a very deliberate instrument in that war.

    Similarly the "they" thing (and "gender neutral pronouns" more generally) is part of a likewise deliberate but far more audacious effort to deconstruct the two sexes of humanity in public discussion. Wire the kids' brains not to think in binary gender categories so much.

    In both cases it's literal Orwellian Newspeak on a level Orwell himself didn't anticipate. We shouldn't trivialize it as simple laziness or stupidity like some others around here appear to be doing.

    As I like to put it: Never ascribe to stupidity or ineptness any liberal policy that can be more parsimoniously explained as malice aforethought.

    Replies: @Rob McX, @Rosie, @JR Ewing

    The entire point of the “Ms” thing was to devalue marriage. Yet one more mechanism of social engineering to convince unmarried women and divorcees that they’re just as good as their sisters who became wives and mothers. In isolation it’s not a huge thing compared to much else but it was a very deliberate instrument in that war.

    Hmmm. I’m not at all sure that your claimed pretext is accurate. I always assumed it had to do with protecting married women from discrimination. Of course, I could certainly be wrong about that. But then, if separate titles are to be used to shame unmarried women, the question arises whether it was ever appropriate to shame the goose but not the gander. Of course, if you assume that rights are for men and duties are for women, as you and Mr. Newman do, the double standard would make perfect sense.

  71. @OldCurmudgeon
    @Bill P

    >Language evolves from the grass roots.

    English does so. French, OTOH, has a committee.

    >but it’s not unreasonable to have quick, convenient ways of expressing the fact that you don’t know something about a person you are talking about.

    OTOH, if it was actually causing problems, English would probably already have said convenient way.

    Replies: @Rosie

    OTOH, if it was actually causing problems, English would probably already have said convenient way.

    Not necessarily. We don’t have a second-person plural, either.

    • Replies: @JMcG
    @Rosie

    They do in Philadelphia. All of youse should know that. Hiberno-English handles it with “ye.”

    Replies: @jallynn, @Rosie

  72. @NJ Transit Commuter
    I’m no Francophile but French opposition to something America does should always be considered as a warning signal.

    People spouting off about “freedom fries” two decades ago led the US into the most unnecessary foreign policy disaster in the country’s history.

    America would be similarly wise to heed French concerns about “wokisme.”

    Replies: @Wilkey, @Almost Missouri, @JMcG, @Bragadocious, @Reg Cæsar

    So Jonah Goldberg = “people?”

    The French are still pissed off about the submarine thing. They take their weapons sales very seriously. They’re just finding something else to get agitated about. This is very on brand for France.

    When the French decided Qaddafi had to go, they started that shitshow, and Obama stupidly finished it because the French couldn’t pull it off without help. Then the French sat back and watched Libya implode for the next 10 years while saying “huh, quelle dommage.”

    But yeah, we should take their advice seriously, because France is a moral superpower.

    Anyway, the trans movement started in Britain, not America.

  73. @Joe Magarac
    @Rob McX


    ... a generic pronoun specifically for when the speaker doesn’t know the sex of the person they’re referring to
     
    Hungarian. One gender non-specific third person singular pronoun, period.

    Doesn't mean they are "woke", that's just their language.

    Ő egy férfi. Ő egy nő. == He is a man. She is a woman.

    Replies: @HFR

    I wondered when we’d get to Hungarian. While Google-translation of Hungarian to English has improved, there is still a completely arbitrary sprinkling of “he” and “she” throughout a text. I doubt that Google will ever be able to get this right.

  74. I fully support French resistance against bullshit non-binary pronouns but I have to point out that using the term “le wokisme” is in itself pollution of the French language.

  75. @Rosie
    @OldCurmudgeon


    OTOH, if it was actually causing problems, English would probably already have said convenient way.
     
    Not necessarily. We don’t have a second-person plural, either.

    Replies: @JMcG

    They do in Philadelphia. All of youse should know that. Hiberno-English handles it with “ye.”

    • Replies: @jallynn
    @JMcG

    And it was the Scots-Irish who gave us "yinz" and "y'all."

    , @Rosie
    @JMcG


    They do in Philadelphia. All of youse should know that. Hiberno-English handles it with “ye.”
     
    Lol I meant a standard one.
  76. N’ie en at elle pas iecie de la monde qui parle le langue francais?
    .

  77. @shockedinto
    @D. K.

    Your second clause has no subject, so IT'S not a clause.

    Pronouns are useful and powerful.

    Replies: @D. K.

    “Your second clause has no subject, so IT’S not a clause.

    “Pronouns are useful and powerful.”

    Since (a) the subject is the same, (b) the meaning is clear, and (c) it obviates the very problem which the hypothetical witness has, my sentence is quite proper. That, at any rate, would have been the common opinion, back when I earned my degree in English, forty-some years ago, and during my many years of writing for a living.

  78. @anon
    @Achmed E. Newman


    The use of the masculine pronoun in English for someone of unknown sex comes from feminism long ago
     
    When was this? I'd love to read more.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    Anon-#177, I’ve been missing negatives today (did that in a reply to Jack D.) I meant that this use of “their” for “his”, etc started during the feminist push way back (for me, anyway), as it was “sexist” to use male pronouns as defaults.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  79. English is a very corrupt language. We’re having issues because Englishmen aren’t keen on being fluent in English.

    “You” is the plural. The singular is “ye.” Englishmen are too ignorant of their own language to use this decidedly necessary word. Instead there’s attempts to try to graft something, like ‘you all’ or ‘you guys.’

    It was changed because of social register connotations. Ye indicated familiarity or patronization, the way using -kun in Japanese does. Rather than change the connotation, it was dropped from use, and eventually forgotten entirely. Imagine everyone got to use the royal “we” to the point where “I” became unknown. It’s not hard to imagine there’s an even more forgotten singular for ‘they.’ Old English had something we would spell like “hey,” for example.

    I often wonder if English is suitable for a lingua franca because even the natives speak it like a half-remembered pidgin.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Alrenous

    “God rest ye merry gentlemen” - ye is singular and gentlemen is plural?

    Replies: @Alrenous, @Crawfurdmuir

  80. Anonymous[178] • Disclaimer says:

    1. English already has a perfectly good genderless pronoun: IT why can’t we call the woke attention-whore children “it”?
    2. There’s no way for the children to be offended in a face to face conversation because you’re using the pronoun “you” which is genderless AND both singular and plural. So it works for the gender-confused as well as the number-confused.
    3. Since “you” is the pronoun for in-person stuff, the only way the children can be offended is if they’re Googling themselves or eavesdropping on conversations about themselves – 2 habits that make a person very unlikeable.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
  81. @Altai
    What's interesting is that 'they/them' as 'non-binary' pronouns took off in earnest only after the first major real world defeat to Tumblr nonsense infiltrating the real world.

    There was a point where they tried to introduce 'neo-pronouns' a few years ago like 'Xir/xi' etc. This was eventually abandoned, partly because non-Tumblr users and Tumblr users above the age of 19 tended not to use them but also because they had become a potent totem of satire by the unwoke and were unworkable since there were so many bespoke ones that it would be impossible to implement.

    Here is a picture of a Google event where they had a whole array of neo-pronoun name tags for attendees.

    https://twitter.com/MattKellerABC7/status/993855005378527232

    Below you can see the original Tumblr BPD vigor of the pronouns in contrast to the sterile Google corporate version in the above picture.

    https://i.pinimg.com/474x/e0/58/80/e05880850004710e2caaecb874678ef5--button-badge-lesbian.jpg

    Weirdly there was no mass suicide event from neo-pronoun users being invalidated.

    Well no we've run out of new woke things so they're making a bit of a comeback, now on Twitter where Tumblr-like enclaves have been festering for many years now.

    Now we may not see a real world return of 'Xi/Xhir'. But 'It/It's' is a new standardised pronoun for people who want every to know they have BPD.

    https://twitter.com/search?q=it%2Fits%20pronoun&src=typed_query

    Some of the twitter posts on 'It/It's' mention how either it or 'They/Them' don't work as pronouns in the native languages of the users. Needless to say 100% of the people not mocking said pronouns have BPD or some other cluster B disorder.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    Wait … you mean they didn’t have Who/Whom?

  82. No mention of the tranny Jeopardy champion? “She” apparently has a girlfriend. WTF!!!!

    It plays very much like a guy.

  83. Are yellow vest protests still a thing? It occurs to me that the Macronist French elite is trying to gin up a culture war dispute, complete with blaming it on Russian, er, American influence to distract from the wealthy corrupting society and robbing the piggy bank.

    The elite get to look like they are “fighting for France” without doing something yucky like expelling the aliens. “You don’t need to elect Marine le Pen. We are fighting the third pronoun.”

    Conservative Americans have been known to fall for that sort of thing.

    • Agree: Rob McX
  84. Eh, the French have a lot of their own crazies, a French gay rights movement, feminist movement, and trannies. They need no influence from Les Americains to go fou.

  85. @Alrenous
    English is a very corrupt language. We're having issues because Englishmen aren't keen on being fluent in English.

    "You" is the plural. The singular is "ye." Englishmen are too ignorant of their own language to use this decidedly necessary word. Instead there's attempts to try to graft something, like 'you all' or 'you guys.'

    It was changed because of social register connotations. Ye indicated familiarity or patronization, the way using -kun in Japanese does. Rather than change the connotation, it was dropped from use, and eventually forgotten entirely. Imagine everyone got to use the royal "we" to the point where "I" became unknown. It's not hard to imagine there's an even more forgotten singular for 'they.' Old English had something we would spell like "hey," for example.

    I often wonder if English is suitable for a lingua franca because even the natives speak it like a half-remembered pidgin.

    Replies: @Anon

    “God rest ye merry gentlemen” – ye is singular and gentlemen is plural?

    • Replies: @Alrenous
    @Anon

    Option 1: since when are Englishmen literate? Should be single gentleman.

    Option 2: back when thorn was a letter, printers would sometimes not have a thorn type, so they would use 'y' instead. Hence, this reads, "God rest the merry gentlemen."

    Replies: @Adam Smith

    , @Crawfurdmuir
    @Anon

    Alrenous is bit confused. You, ye, and your (or yours) are second-person plurals. The second-person singular forms are thou, thee, and thy (or thine).

    There is a custom in many European languages of using the second-person plural as a formal or polite singular - as, for example, are vous, vos, votre in French. These are used when speaking to a social superior or a stranger. The second-person singular, tu, toi, ton, ta (or tes) is reserved for family, children, and servants. The phrase être à tu et à toi avec [quelqu'un] means to be on very familiar terms with someone.

    We associate thee, thou, thy, or thine in English primarily with old-fashioned and now increasingly disused religious usage (e.g., the 1662 and 1928 versions of the Book of Common Prayer and the Authorized Version of the Bible), and with the often caricatured and long-abandoned speech of Quakers. One addresses God in the singular because a believer should be on familiar terms with his Creator. The Quakers used thee in speaking to each other because it suited their egalitarianism, which did not acknowledge that any person was worthy of greater formal respect than any other.

  86. @Reg Cæsar

    President Emmanuel ➖ has warned that “certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States” may be a threat.
     
    Derrida and Foucault were American?

    “There is only one French language, only one grammar, and only one Republic.”

    ...when it comes to adjectives describing mixed gatherings, they take the masculine form.
     

    《Il n'y a qu'une langue française, qu'une grammaire et qu'une République.》

    La société, la classe, une manifestation étudiante.

    Une émeute:


    https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/78/590x/paris-1049731.jpg?r=1543174229691

    Replies: @Alden, @68W58, @tomv

    In fairness to the NYT, they were talking about “adjectives” specifically, and that makes sense only in the context of a noun with both masculine and feminine forms that correspond to the biological sexes.

    You are talking about abstractly feminine nouns.

    I side with the devil on this one.

  87. @Rosie
    @68W58


    “Derrida and Foucault were American?”
    Right, suddenly those ideas come back around to bite them and those French philosophers who pushed postmodernism and deconstructionism on the world are suddenly forgotten.
     
    I don't think they pushed it on the world so much as got adopted and boosted by the American academic establishment. Only in literature, though, American philosophy departments have never had any use for such refuse.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @68W58

    I don’t think they pushed it on the world so much as got adopted and boosted by the American academic establishment. Only in literature, though, American philosophy departments have never had any use for such refuse.

    Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex had a greater impact in America than it did back home. Sometimes we Yanks can be really stupid.

  88. @NJ Transit Commuter
    I’m no Francophile but French opposition to something America does should always be considered as a warning signal.

    People spouting off about “freedom fries” two decades ago led the US into the most unnecessary foreign policy disaster in the country’s history.

    America would be similarly wise to heed French concerns about “wokisme.”

    Replies: @Wilkey, @Almost Missouri, @JMcG, @Bragadocious, @Reg Cæsar

    People spouting off about “freedom fries”

    Which are Belgian anyway. This summer we ate at a little diner founded by an ancestrally Belgian family in Brussels, Wisconsin. Even they called them “French fries”!

    Not far away there is a Luxemburg founded by Belgians, and a ways down the lakeshore, a Belgium founded by Luxemburgers. You can blame the Post Office for that mix-up; their applications arrived at the same time.

  89. @Anon
    I went to college in the mid-2000s, which wasn't that long ago but seems like eons ago relative to the wokeism of today. Of course colleges were still very left back then, but I don't think anyone imagined that "nonbinary pronouns" would become a respectable thing. It was also right before smartphones and social media's takeover of the internet, which seems to have accelerated things.

    When I was in college, while nonbinary pronouns weren't a thing, what was common to see from younger professors and grad students was the usage of "she" or "s/he" instead of "he" when writing academic papers and referring to a generic 3rd person singular whose sex isn't identified.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @JR Ewing

    When I was in college 10-15 years before you, I was admonished once by an adult staff member for writing a letter that began with “Dear Sirs” instead of “Dear Sir / Madam”. I learned my lesson at the time and still write it that way today.

    Also when I was in college in the early 90’s, I was told once by a gay friend that gay “marriage” was a ludicrous idea and not supported by the local gay student association. (“Why would we ever want to go get married?”)

    Point being, it’s always a ratchet in the same direction and I’m sure that in the early 2000’s gay “marriage” was probably the cause du jour (swidt) and pronouns hadn’t caught on yet. Now we are past all of that and the woke kids have some other cause that sounds crazy to us old people.

  90. @John Regan
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Also, I still make an effort to write or say Miss vs. Mrs. However, you are right that that can take extra effort. I have looked women up on wiki while writing blog posts just for that reason – it does take time. However, I do that to piss off those feminists still alive who started the Ms. thing, so the time is not wasted by any means.
     
    First: Congratulations, and thanks!

    However much as annoying feminists is a worthy pursuit in itself there is also a more serious dimension to all this that deserves elaboration.

    The entire point of the "Ms" thing was to devalue marriage. Yet one more mechanism of social engineering to convince unmarried women and divorcees that they're just as good as their sisters who became wives and mothers. In isolation it's not a huge thing compared to much else but it was a very deliberate instrument in that war.

    Similarly the "they" thing (and "gender neutral pronouns" more generally) is part of a likewise deliberate but far more audacious effort to deconstruct the two sexes of humanity in public discussion. Wire the kids' brains not to think in binary gender categories so much.

    In both cases it's literal Orwellian Newspeak on a level Orwell himself didn't anticipate. We shouldn't trivialize it as simple laziness or stupidity like some others around here appear to be doing.

    As I like to put it: Never ascribe to stupidity or ineptness any liberal policy that can be more parsimoniously explained as malice aforethought.

    Replies: @Rob McX, @Rosie, @JR Ewing

    Similarly the “they” thing (and “gender neutral pronouns” more generally) is part of a likewise deliberate but far more audacious effort to deconstruct the two sexes of humanity in public discussion. Wire the kids’ brains not to think in binary gender categories so much.

    —————

    I’ve been screaming about this for a long time. It’s not about being “polite” or anything like that, it’s about training people how to think in the approved way.

    These are *3rd person* pronouns we are talking about. They are used when the subject (antecedent) isn’t part of the conversation. They are used to talk about someone, not to them, so if that’s the case, why should the subject care what words you are using in a separate conversation with another person?

    In this case, they care because if you use traditional pronouns to describe a person – for instance, if you use “he” to describe a man in a dress pretending to be a woman – then that means you don’t actually believe that man is really a woman now. Language controls thoughts. So they have to police your private language to ensure that you are thinking the right way. If you can are no longer to refer to that man as a man, then eventually you will won’t be able to think that man is a man.

    It’s all literally Orwellian.

  91. Wokism is the same disease as postmodernism etc. Postmodernism died with the Sokal hoax, but now the virus has mutated to something else, that is more leathal. For almost two centuries reason has been attacked, first by Marx and Freud . If Wokism would die, which it does not without authoritarism, it would mutate to something else.

  92. @Rosie
    @68W58


    “Derrida and Foucault were American?”
    Right, suddenly those ideas come back around to bite them and those French philosophers who pushed postmodernism and deconstructionism on the world are suddenly forgotten.
     
    I don't think they pushed it on the world so much as got adopted and boosted by the American academic establishment. Only in literature, though, American philosophy departments have never had any use for such refuse.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @68W58

    I can’t speak to philosophy, but there was quite a bit of “postmodern theory” in some of the social sciences over the past 20-25 years, particularly Anthropology and Sociology. I think you are right about literature, the first time I can remember being exposed to those concepts was when reading Paglia’s “Sexual Personae” 25 years ago or so and she’s a humanities prof.

  93. It’s not that complicated.

    “The hit-and-run driver knocked down the old lady and then he the car took off northbound at 80 mph.”

    A competent police officer would ask, should you use “he,” if you could identify the driver as a male or female–and, could you visually identify the driver if seen again.

  94. @Anon
    @Alrenous

    “God rest ye merry gentlemen” - ye is singular and gentlemen is plural?

    Replies: @Alrenous, @Crawfurdmuir

    Option 1: since when are Englishmen literate? Should be single gentleman.

    Option 2: back when thorn was a letter, printers would sometimes not have a thorn type, so they would use ‘y’ instead. Hence, this reads, “God rest the merry gentlemen.”

    • Replies: @Adam Smith
    @Alrenous

    God rest þe merry gentlemen‽

  95. Intelligibility has been a very strong norm in French culture for the almost four centuries since the Classic prose style emerged in the age of Descartes and Pascal.

    Sadly, Jacques Derrida skipped class the day this was being taught.

  96. @JMcG
    @Rosie

    They do in Philadelphia. All of youse should know that. Hiberno-English handles it with “ye.”

    Replies: @jallynn, @Rosie

    And it was the Scots-Irish who gave us “yinz” and “y’all.”

  97. @JMcG
    @Rosie

    They do in Philadelphia. All of youse should know that. Hiberno-English handles it with “ye.”

    Replies: @jallynn, @Rosie

    They do in Philadelphia. All of youse should know that. Hiberno-English handles it with “ye.”

    Lol I meant a standard one.

  98. @Alrenous
    @Anon

    Option 1: since when are Englishmen literate? Should be single gentleman.

    Option 2: back when thorn was a letter, printers would sometimes not have a thorn type, so they would use 'y' instead. Hence, this reads, "God rest the merry gentlemen."

    Replies: @Adam Smith

    God rest þe merry gentlemen‽

    • Agree: Alrenous
  99. @shockedinto
    I recall reading somewhere that sometime back in time "our" language - maybe early Anglo-Saxon, maybe something earlier from mainland Germany, or way-back in Proto-Indo-European - there were pronouns for male and female and neutral but animate (not "it" instead a word referencing something alive). Presumably the neutral seems to have died out as not being helpful: the pronouns with gender make telling a tale about human actors easier and more concise.

    Can any of the high-level commenters here confirm or debunk this idea.

    Also how did this happen: How did Proto-Indo-European seemingly appear from nowhere with all sorts of structures; and now n-thousands of years later English, it's favored daughter, seems relatively simplified?

    Replies: @LondonBob, @Alrenous

    English is the oldest of the Germanic languages, and thus the most simplistic, the further the distance, the less evolution, hence why Americans still use 17th century English accents, or Latin Americans 17th century Castilian Spanish.

  100. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Adam Smith

    Cervix, huh? I'll have to ask my general practitioner. He should be able to find it with one of those ultrasound thingies, if I got one...

    Of course, The Office covered some of this (skip to 0:25):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibQ9r_C5UBc

    Replies: @Adam Smith

    An inverted penis does not a vagina make.

  101. @shockedinto
    I recall reading somewhere that sometime back in time "our" language - maybe early Anglo-Saxon, maybe something earlier from mainland Germany, or way-back in Proto-Indo-European - there were pronouns for male and female and neutral but animate (not "it" instead a word referencing something alive). Presumably the neutral seems to have died out as not being helpful: the pronouns with gender make telling a tale about human actors easier and more concise.

    Can any of the high-level commenters here confirm or debunk this idea.

    Also how did this happen: How did Proto-Indo-European seemingly appear from nowhere with all sorts of structures; and now n-thousands of years later English, it's favored daughter, seems relatively simplified?

    Replies: @LondonBob, @Alrenous

    Old English pronouns:
    https://en.m.wikibooks.org/wiki/Old_English/Pronouns

    English became a horrible franken-pidgin because everyone high-class (=smart) stopped speaking it for a century or two, meaning only lower-class words and lower-class grammar survived. http://thehistoryofenglish.com/history_middle.html
    When they went back to speaking English they had to graft on a bunch of Latin cognates because everyone had forgotten the original verbiage.

    Fun fact: despite Godwin’s law, the proto-indo-Europeans did in fact call themselves Aryan. I guess they hadn’t heard of the internet or something. They didn’t appear out of nowhere, but nevertheless seemed to because the archives are incomplete.

  102. @Anon
    @Alrenous

    “God rest ye merry gentlemen” - ye is singular and gentlemen is plural?

    Replies: @Alrenous, @Crawfurdmuir

    Alrenous is bit confused. You, ye, and your (or yours) are second-person plurals. The second-person singular forms are thou, thee, and thy (or thine).

    There is a custom in many European languages of using the second-person plural as a formal or polite singular – as, for example, are vous, vos, votre in French. These are used when speaking to a social superior or a stranger. The second-person singular, tu, toi, ton, ta (or tes) is reserved for family, children, and servants. The phrase être à tu et à toi avec [quelqu’un] means to be on very familiar terms with someone.

    We associate thee, thou, thy, or thine in English primarily with old-fashioned and now increasingly disused religious usage (e.g., the 1662 and 1928 versions of the Book of Common Prayer and the Authorized Version of the Bible), and with the often caricatured and long-abandoned speech of Quakers. One addresses God in the singular because a believer should be on familiar terms with his Creator. The Quakers used thee in speaking to each other because it suited their egalitarianism, which did not acknowledge that any person was worthy of greater formal respect than any other.

    • Thanks: JMcG, LondonBob
  103. Anonymous[999] • Disclaimer says:
    @Rob McX
    We can always take refuge in Armenia or Estonia, havens of genderless pronouns. You're նա(na) in Armenian and ta in Estonian in the third person, whether you're he, she, or some attention-seeking misfit who shuns both.

    Replies: @Colin Wright, @Anonymous

    You’re նա(na) in Armenian and ta in Estonian in the third person, …

    On the other hand, Hebrew forces speakers to distinguish between the feminine and masculine forms even of second person pronouns and verbs (as well as adjectives):

    ? מה אתה אומר ma atah omer? What are you (m) saying (m)?

    ? מה את אומרת …? ma at omeret? What are you (f) saying (f)?

    Of course, there are plenty of feminist politicians in Israel forced by linguistic circumstance to express their feminist sentiments in this highly gendered language. Dante would have relished the irony.

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