Singular ‘they’ voted as Word of the Year

Joseph McCormick January 9, 2016
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A simple, gender neutral pronoun has been voted Word of the Year, in 365 days which has seen ‘dadbod’, ‘manbun’ and ‘mic drop’ accepted into our vocabularies.

‘They’ was voted the Word of the Year 2015, by over 300 linguists, lexicographers and grammarians on Friday.

Having been used for hundreds of years to descibe someone of unknown gender.

Its usage to include people who do not identify as one of the binary genders, or those who do not wish to be identified as so, has increased recently.

“There has been a lot of discussion lately about pronouns and people taking on their own pronouns, making that a matter of choice,” said Ben Zimmer, chair of the American Dialect Society’s new words committee, in a new interview with the Business Insider.
“That’s an interesting development that singular ‘they’ is in the middle of.”

“It does say something about the way people are exploring gender and sexual identity, and perhaps a greater openness to accepting new ways of expressing that identity through language,” he went on.

Zimmer notes that media outlets have adopted the use of they to denote those who are not identifiable using ‘he’ or ‘she’.

The gender neutral title, Mx was among the latest list to enter into the Oxford English Dictionary last year.

The free online dictionary – created by the publishers of the esteemed Oxford English Dictionary – added the words during its quarterly update today (August 27).

Mx is defined in the dictionary as “n: a title used before a person’s surname by those who wish to avoid specifying their gender.”

Read the PinkNews guide to the use of the word Mx, here.

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