Oppression of Gender Non-conformity in Arguments Against Singular They

Overview image of Oppression of Gender Non-conformity in Arguments Against Singular They
  • Portfolio piece: #8
  • Published: 2016
  • Created for: University of Maryland, University College (ENGL 386 History of the English Language)
  • Capabilities: communication, culture, language, writing, research

This project is available for download as a PDF.

This project was the final thesis paper for a course in the history of the English language I took in Summer 2016.

The course focused on the linguistic heritage of English. From its Proto-Indo-European roots through today, the language is ever evolving, as seen in changes to expressions and structure due to influences from contemporary issues of all concerns, social, local, global, and political.

The instructions for the final thesis paper directed students to choose a topic briefly covered in class and to comment on that topic through detailed research and analysis. One such topic was gender bias and gender neutrality; my resulting paper focused on the current contention over the use of singular they in formal and casual language, and the greater issues of pronoun usage (he/she/they) and gender in cultural language norms.

My intended audience included my peers in HEL, who may not be aware of gender issues in language as a feminist issue, but also opponents of changes to the English language based on emerging concerns and issues in the feminist and transgender communities, who may not be aware of the underlying bigotry in their insistence on androcentric language and in their resistance to language change.