Yo gender-neutral singular pronoun has arrived at last!
14 Mar 2008 - 3:31am
5 years ago
I do a lot of writing in english, and when discussing IxD I need to refer to
the person using the product. But there is no good way top refer to that
person because English language lacks of a gender-neutral singular pronoun.
Writing"the user" and "he" is easy and works well grammatically, but it is a
big no-no (and for good reasons).
I've seen a number of alternative solutions and all has their issues:
- Using "He" or "She" is considered sexist
- Always referring to the full "he or she" is a bit long-winded and
- "One" is archaic
- Writing "s/he" or alternating "he" and "she" in every other sentence
seems awkward and strange
- Rewriting the sentence in plural, i.e referring to "they" often
works but not always.
- Referring to "people" or even "you" instead of "the users" is ok,
(but can be a bit of a minefield for non-english writers)
But check this out:
Dr. Elaine Stotko, from the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University,
and her student, Margaret Troyer, have discovered that school children in
Baltimore are *using the slang word yo as a gender-neutral singular pronoun*.
Dr. Stotko was teaching a master's class at Johns Hopkins, and it came out
during a discussion that several of the high school and middle school
English teachers had noticed their students using *yo* as a pronoun. Often
the students would be talking to another student, would point at the third
person they were referring to, and would say something like "Yo threw a
thumbtack at me." This made teachers think they were using *yo* to mean "he
or she" instead of *yo* as you would normally hear in phrases like "Yo
The researchers found that it was most common for the kids to use *yo* in
the subject position; for example, "Yo wearin' a new coat," (to point out
someone wearing a new coat). But they also used *yo* in the object position,
as in "I saw yo at school," and "Look at yo." < http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-yo-pronoun.aspx>
"Yo can accomplish tasks quickly, because well-designed applications don't
get in yo way."*
What do you think? :-)