More gender neutral experimentation

Okay, so yesterday’s experiment with a new gender neutral pronoun (qi/qir) wasn’t a success. I quite like ze/hir (see, e.g., Love at first unsight), but the ze can be problematic and intrusive (see The Need for a Gender-Neutral Pronoun).

The thing about he/she, his/her(s) and him/her is that they are not at all intrusive. So, how about using thi with a soft th (like the first syllable of theatre) and thir again with a soft th (like the first syllable of thirty):

‘Come, there’s no use in crying like that!’ said Alice to thirself, rather sharply; ‘I advise you to leave off this minute!’ Thi generally gave thirself very good advice, (though thi very seldom followed it), and sometimes thi scolded thirself so severely as to bring tears into thir eyes; and once thi remembered trying to box thir own ears for having cheated thirself in a game of croquet thi was playing against thirself, for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people. ‘But it’s no use now,’ thought poor Alice, ‘to pretend to be two people! Why, there’s hardly enough of me left to make ONE respectable person!’

Is it better, or just perverse, to use new symbols, i.e., the Greek letter theta (Θ/θ)?

‘Come, there’s no use in crying like that!’ said Alice to θirself, rather sharply; ‘I advise you to leave off this minute!’ Θi generally gave θirself very good advice, (though θi very seldom followed it), and sometimes θi scolded θirself so severely as to bring tears into θir eyes; and once θi remembered trying to box θir own ears for having cheated θirself in a game of croquet θi was playing against θirself, for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people. ‘But it’s no use now,’ thought poor Alice, ‘to pretend to be two people! Why, there’s hardly enough of me left to make ONE respectable person!’

Visually it’s intrusive, a Cyrillic letter littering the Latin text, but easy enough to read once you get used to it. The mind immediately understands the word, whereas thi and thir parse like typos.

If there’s one thing I have against this system, it’s the lisp factor: ‘Come, there’s no use in crying like that!’ said Alyth to θirself, rather sharply…

About Frank

A Sci-Fi & Fantasy author and lyrical poet with a mild obsession for vampires, succubi, goddesses and Supergirl.
This entry was posted in Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to More gender neutral experimentation

  1. TL Scott says:

    Just sharing my thoughts:

    ‘Come, there’s no use in crying like that!’ said Alice to self, rather sharply; ‘I advise you to leave off this minute!’ One generally gave self very good advice, (though one very seldom followed it), and sometimes one scolded tself so severely as to bring tears into ones eyes; and once one remembered trying to box ones own ears for having cheated self in a game of croquet one was playing against self, for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people. ‘But it’s no use now,’ thought poor Alice, ‘to pretend to be two people! Why, there’s hardly enough of me left to make ONE respectable person!’

    • Frank says:

      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      While one/self is an option – the argument being ‘Why create something new when the language already has a mechanism for avoiding gender?’ – it isn’t very elegant. It doesn’t follow the same grammatical rules, and feels very abstract. For instance:
      Alice started to one’s feet, for it flashed across one’s mind that one had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it…
      compared with:
      Alice started to θir feet, for it flashed across θir mind that θi had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it…
      However we choose to do it, there will be difficulties, but if I had to read/write lots of ones per page it would drive me nuts.

  2. Regan Nicole says:

    Have you heard of S. Bear Bergman? If not I highly recommend checking out the book Butch is A Noun. Butch is a Noun is a collection of amazing essays and one is specifically on the use of gender neutral pronouns. (ze/hir is discussed)

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/280880.Butch_Is_a_Noun?from_search=true

Please leave a reply. Please! Pretty please! Cherry on top...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s