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US NewsMerriam-Webster adds non-binary pronoun ‘they’ to dictionary

04:15  18 september  2019
04:15  18 september  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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Merriam - Webster added a new definition of the word “ they ” to its dictionary , declaring the pronoun may be used to refer to a “single person whose gender identity is nonbinary .” “ They ” is a liberating pronoun for many non - binary individuals who identify as genders other than male or female.

They , themself: Merriam - Webster adds nonbinary pronouns to dictionary . Also added : vacay, deep state. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY Published 3:57 p.m Singer Sam Smith is among those who have recently said publicly they identify themselves as nonbinary and have opted for the pronouns “ they ’

(Video by GeoBeats)

Merriam-Webster added a new definition of the word “they” to its dictionary, declaring the pronoun may be used to refer to a “single person whose gender identity is nonbinary.”

“They” is a liberating pronoun for many non-binary individuals who identify as genders other than male or female. For many Americans, the use of “they” as a singular pronoun can be ungrammatical and confusing.

But Merriam-Webster’s announcement, made on Twitter on Tuesday, marked an official stamp of approval on a term that has become increasingly common as non-binary identities become more visible than ever.

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They definition is - those ones —used as third person pronoun serving as the plural of he, she, or it or referring to a group of two or more individuals not all of the same sex. Not every pronoun requires an antecedent, however. The indefinite they is used in all varieties of contexts and is standard.

Though singular ' they ' is old, ' they ' as a nonbinary pronoun is new—and useful. They is taking on a new use, however: as a pronoun of choice for someone who doesn’t identify as either male or If you’re someone who has a binary gender (that is, who identifies as male or female) and you’ve never

Merriam-Webster adds non-binary pronoun ‘they’ to dictionary © Simon Dawson/Reuters A protester waves an inclusive pride flag during the first ever Trans Pride March in London, Britain September 14, 2019. (Simon Dawson/Reuters)

State and city governments, including in the District, California and New York, have begun offering a gender option of “X” on identification cards. Airlines, school districts and colleges nationwide are also allowing alternative gender markers.

“Language responds to social change. Things that need to be expressed get expressed,” said Dennis Baron, professor emeritus of English and linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In recent years, a number of journalism style guides have allowed the gender-neutral pronouns. The Associated Press in 2017 announced it would permit journalists to use the singular “they" in limited cases, and The Washington Post has formally recognized the new pronouns since 2015.

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Merriam - Webster announced Tuesday that gender-neutral pronouns “ they ” and “themself” have been added to the dictionary , along with more than 530 other words. Nonbinary and gender nonconforming people have existed throughout history and across cultures, but as Merriam - Webster

Last year The Merriam - Webster Dictionary added the words “genderqueer” and “Mx” which a non - binary honorific to replace “Mr.” or “Ms” to the dictionary ! I understand that using non - binary pronouns might be challenging, but when someone says my pronouns are “too hard” for them to

Merriam-Webster adds non-binary pronoun ‘they’ to dictionary Close-up of sign for all gender restroom in Dublin, California, with male, female and gender-inclusive stick figure illustrations, March 13, 2019. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

But in a blog post written before Tuesday’s announcement, Merriam-Webster noted that “they” has been used as a singular pronoun since the late 1300s, “and that regardless of what detractors say, nearly everyone uses the singular they in casual conversation and often in formal writing.”

“There have always been people who didn’t conform to an expected gender expression, or who seemed to be neither male nor female. But we’ve struggled to find the right language to describe these people—and in particular, the right pronouns,” the blog post stated. The singular “they,” it said, is “not quite as newfangled as it seems: we have evidence in our files of the nonbinary they dating back to 1950, and it’s likely that there are earlier uses of the nonbinary pronoun they out there.”

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Nonbinary definition is - not binary : such as. b : of, relating to, or being a system of numbers that does not use 2 as its base nonbinary math. c : relating to or being a person who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that is neither entirely male nor entirely female … an effort to create more

Pronoun definition is - any of a small set of words in a language that are used as substitutes for Reflexive pronouns refer back to the subject of a sentence or clause and are formed by adding -self or Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam - Webster or its editors.

Many English speakers consider dictionaries to be “constitutional," authorities, Baron said. “They want to have some kind of stability in language that they can point to and say 'here’s the rules.”

Gallery: Celebs react to Sam Smith's pronoun change (Wonderwall)

Merriam-Webster adds non-binary pronoun ‘they’ to dictionary

In reality, Baron said, dictionaries are not intended to set rules on how people should behave. “They’re a general indication of how language is being used at a particular time,” Baron said. But the inclusion in Merriam-Webster of a singular “they” for non-binary individuals is a significant recognition that the new pronouns have reached the mainstream.

Baron, who is publishing a book next year called “What’s Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She,” said he knew the singular “they” was “here to stay” as soon as people started arguing about its correct grammatical usage. For example, should the reflexive form be “themself” or “themselves?" The question is still under debate.

“If people are already worried about how you express singular ‘they’ correctly, then it is already established,” Baron said.

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We added a gender-neutral pronoun in 1934. In her Master’s thesis from 1991 (Solving the Great Pronoun Problem), Kelly Ann Sippell provided an extensive list of gender-neutral third-person singular pronouns that had been proposed over — Merriam - Webster ’s Dictionary of English Usage, 1994.

dictionary thesaurus. Join mwu. Games. 2 : those —used especially as antecedent to a relative pronoun the best of them that speak this speech— William Shakespeare —used as the subject of a verb chiefly in nonstandard speech and for humorous effect them is fighting words.

Merriam-Webster adds non-binary pronoun ‘they’ to dictionary © 2017 The Washington Post COLLEGE PARK, MD - JUNE 29: A pin worn by Nic Sakurai, the first person to receive a D.C. gender neutral ID, at their office, on June, 29, 2017 in College Park, MD. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In recent months, a number of celebrities have come out as non-binary. Last week, Sam Smith declared on Twitter that the singer has decided to go by the non-binary pronouns they/them, adding that “after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out.”

“I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try,” Smith tweeted. “I hope you can see me like I see myself now.”

The new definition of “they” was among 530 new words added to the dictionary, Merriam-Webster said Tuesday. Among the other new words were “deep state,” “dad joke” and “free solo.”

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