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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

THEM - The Creeping Horror!

Another post from Brian Duncan 
Grouchy old pedants such as I - unless we are completely stupid - have long accepted the status of gender-neutral singular pronoun that political correctness has now firmly assigned to  "they" and its kin.  
We acknowledge that such usage is not only time-honoured, but dignified in the works of masters of English literature (though perhaps there may be a measure of irony in Wodehouse's gloss of "the psychology of the individual" as "what they are like").  
We may even, while eschewing the usage ourselves, accept that it is preferable to the clumsy  "he or she".  In any case, it is no sillier than the formal Italian use of "lei" (= "they") for "you".

However  .  .  .  where is the sense in the following from Evan Davis on "Today" the other morning? 

Evan Davis

"  . . . here is someone else who wants to express their view on this topic:  Lord Warner . . ."

Lord Warner

I acknowledge that my quotation is woefully inaccurate, but the absurdity contained within it is not.   That Lord Warner is a man is beyond doubt:  were it not so, his title would be "Lady".  That "Lord" is a noun of the masculine gender is a matter of fact, even were the sex of its holder a matter of conjecture.  Why, then, in the name of all that's reasonable, does Mr Davis find it appropriate to say "their" instead of "his"?

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A new start?

Back from holiday, with this postcard. 
I'll try again ...

One way of signing in that works
This is how I got started on Blogger.
  1. At the top right of the screen, click Create Blog
  2. Follow the instructions, which I found pretty clear. This will give you a Google account, which makes signing in quite easy. You don't have to use your blog. I left mine alone until I though of using it for ex-Word-of-Mouth.
  3. In future, always check the top right hand corner. If it shows Sign in then you need to click it if you want to post a comment.
  4. Once signed in, never navigate backwards.
  5. I started on Blogger to follow other language blogs:

 I can recommend all three. The John Wells blog can be technical (sometimes very technical) but quite often it's very accessible. David Crystal is excellent value, but he doesn't post all that often. Lynne Murphy ('Lynnequist Lynneguist') starts thread on differences between British and American usage and lots of people feel confident enough to post.