SETI, SETI 420, SETI 421

Sorry, grammar nerds. The singular ‘they’ has been declared Word of the Year.

29 Sep , 2016  

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/08/donald-trump-may-win-this-years-word-of-the-year/

“Singular “they,” the gender-neutral pronoun, has been named the Word of the Year by a crowd of over 200 linguists at the American Dialect Society’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on Friday evening.”

This is especially useful to keep in mind for translating (or interpreting) where the gender of the person being spoken about is unknown.  Instead of having to choose the gender of the hypothetical person you are speaking about, you can simply use the singular “they” to preserve gender neutrality.

For instance, how would you translate the following?

Habló.

Typically you would have to randomly choose a gender for the person you were speaking about since you don’t have any contextual clues, due to the gendered shortcomings of the English language.  So you’d translate this as, “He spoke,” or, “She spoke.”  However, due to the gender-neutral singular “they” finally being recognized in academic circles, you can now safely (and far more accurately) translate this as, “They said.”

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