brimstoneSalad wrote: ↑
Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:34 am
Consider the innate cultural harm of linguistic drift: it can cause older works of literature, or scientific works, to become less accessible and comprehensible to the general public. Think how it's harder to understand Shakespeare today, and how Chaucer is basically impossible to understand.
I don’t know about Chaucer. I know that most people pretend to have read at least some of The Canterbury Tales, but I haven’t read any of his works so I just don’t know. In regards to Shakespeare, it really isn’t that difficult to resolve. There are plenty of books you can get of his plays with a translation of what it would be in modern English. Obviously this doesn’t help when they’re performed live on stage, but the plays are also a lot easier to understand when they’re performed live on stage. Similarly, in books written before “they” became both a singular and plural pronoun, a simple footnote can explain that “they” is used as a plural.
Regardless of the loss of cultural capital, *misuse* of words can also have innate harm by increasing the ambiguity of a language. Bad grammar isn't always just subjectively bad, but can actually be less productive.
I agree, but I don’t believe that this is the case with they/them.
We do not benefit by not teaching grammar at all and letting language devolve into near-gibberish.
I’m not advocating for not teaching grammar at all. However, changes in the language are inevitable and we have to take those into account.
There needs to be a linguistically conservative force that pushes for retaining certain rules and structures in language. Words should have roughly the same meaning today as they do in a couple decades, and if they don't we're losing something.
I don’t think that that will work very well. It’s very difficult to conserve certain words and phrases that will inevitably change. How could this linguistic conservatism by enforced? It could only be enforced by constantly reminding people of the correct words to use. This won’t go down very well with most people as people don’t like to have their grammar corrected. That’s where the term “Grammar Nazi” comes from. People hate having their grammar corrected so much that they are willing to compare it to a racist movement that killed over 10 million people. If you’re worried that advocating for using ze will damage your credibility on other issues, the same could be said of a linguistically conservative force.
That being said, if you think one is necessary, there’s nothing stopping you from starting one. Be the change that you want to see in the world.
IF it's made clear that's arguably fine, but that's not always the case.
I think it’s better to encourage it to always be the case, rather than discouraging the use of they/them as a singular pronoun altogether.
Sometimes ambiguity can be created by accident too.
Anything can come about by accident. People can make the simple mistake of forgetting to add the word “not” to a sentence and then you end up with the Wicked Bible.
You can't always rely on context, since it doesn't always indicate what you need to know.
"John was annoyed by his fish. They kept playing their music too loud."
"Speaking of neighbors, John was annoyed by his. They kept playing their music too loud."
"John has roommate problems, they keep playing their music too loud."
Singular or plural? You don't know. You can't know from that context.
You won't always even get a context that can potentially reveal the number of subjects you're talking about.
Well, I think it’s a better idea to make it so that it is always, rather than dropping they/them as a singular pronoun altogether.
As well as that, this is more likely to happen in non-fiction than anywhere else as a writer will know the gender of their characters.
That seems very unlikely to be an accurate result. Surveys can be pretty easily slanted by the wording, and it also doesn't really say how many people are distressed or even bothered by being called a him or her.
On page 245, I might be misreading it, but it doesn’t actually give a question. It just lists the gender categories. Perhaps that could be worse than having a potentially skewed question, but I fail to see how.
I think it’s pretty safe to infer that people are likely to be distressed at the use of the pronouns they were assigned at birth as it can only increase the dysphoria.
Do you think this is remotely reasonable to ask people to not use pronouns at all when referring to you?
Anybody who does that is either just profoundly ignorant of how difficult that would be for people, or an asshole (doesn't care how difficult it is for others, just wants special treatment for no good reason... or is *so* distressed by a normal part of English that he or she is in serious need of therapy and may need to be committed).
Well, I don’t really understand it, but my perspective is likely to be very different from theirs. Just because we don’t know why they prefer not to use pronouns doesn’t mean that either of those three things are the case. I don’t think it’s that difficult to just use somebody’s name instead of a pronoun. It may be at first but after a while you’d probably get used to it. If somebody just wants special treatment then there probably is a reason, even if it’s not a good one. For instance, if they’re seeking attention then you’re only really helping them by refusing not to use pronouns and drawing attention to them. And maybe giving them therapy or committing them to a mental institution may change their aversion to pronouns. However, it may not and it is at far less cost to just not use them.
It's this slippery slope thing that makes even transexuality look absurd when it's associated with it. That's a problem. It gives conservatives ammunition. How about when people start asking to be referred to in the plural because they identify as royal we?
Even though I don’t have a problem with somebody not wanting to use pronouns, I would agree that it’s best not to associate those people with the trans rights movement as a whole. That being said, I don’t believe that this is the case for the majority of non-binary people who do have pronouns.
Really no reason to believe that when there has been no adjustment for stage.
If somebody just started thinking about whether he or she identifies as male or female, a phase of gender confusion and questioning is very natural and should be expected.
It makes a lot of sense that a transwoman or transman would feel uncomfortable with being referred to as her or his original cisgender pronoun, but may not have fully realized or come to terms with her or his transexuality yet.
A good analogy would probably be to gay men or women experimenting with or identifying as bisexual before coming to terms with being homosexual.
I'm not saying long term bisexuals don't exist, but it's very hard to determine they do with a survey when it's so commonly used as a stepping stone or a phase of experimentation.
There are also plenty of bisexuals who initially identify as homosexuals because they haven’t came to terms with being bi. Similarly, there are plenty of non-binary people who initially identify as a trans man or a trans woman before coming out as non-binary.
Somebody could just as easily use your reasoning to claim that there isn’t a large amount of trans men or trans women:
The percentage of people who identify as trans men or trans women doesn’t show that there is a large number of trans men as there has been no adjustment for stage. If somebody just started thinking about whether they identify as male or female, a phase of believing that they are of the opposite gender is very natural and should be expected. It makes a lot of sense that a non-binary person would feel uncomfortable with being referred to as their original cisgender pronoun, but may not have fully realized or come to terms with being nonbinary yet. A good analogy would probably be to bisexuals experimenting with or identifying as homosexual before coming to terms with being bisexual. I'm not saying long term homosexuals don't exist, but it's very hard to determine they do with a survey when it's so commonly used as a stepping stone or a phase of experimentation.
Sometimes it's a little easier informally, thus its prevalence. But doing so can also be confusing.
It can be but it doesn’t have to be.
It's a case of the perfect being the enemy of the good. I'm not an intersectionalist who thinks *all* causes must be advocated equally (and impossibly) side by side. I'm more concerned with the *survival* of the majority of the human race than the possibility of making a fraction of a percentage slightly uncomfortable. Using ze/zim/zis could harm my ability to do the former in order to avoid the latter. I don't want to look so silly that more important advocacy can be dismissed.
That’s reasonable, but you could also use zem/zim/zis purely around people who you are sure will agree with it, or who you are sure will be rational enough not to dismiss you on other issues purely because of that.
I think until evidence comes in that it's not just a phase for most people, that's not really that unreasonable.
Let’s just assume that there isn’t any evidence either way. Would it not be better to give people the benefit of the doubt before evidence comes in?
I don't doubt that there are some people who feel this way long term, but a better option might just be therapy to help them cope with a binary world.
The same thing can solve gender dysphoria, but it can take decades and the treatment (HRT) is just waaay easier and saves suffering for decades. Path of least resistance.
What sort of therapy do you mean? It sounds to me like conversion therapy, which has been proven to be ineffective.
People who feel non-binary can try to change things, and that's their prerogative, but I don't think it's really something that pressing for humanity right now when we're dealing with much larger issues
Well obviously stuff like climate change is going to be a more important issue, however, it’s also going to be a more important issue than the conservation of language.
OR the path of least resistance.
Maybe not, but it will most likely lead to the best outcome.
In a world of pure justice we might be able to get rid of gender identity entirely and only have a neutral pronoun, but as it stands I think a more reasonable approach is to just break down the stereotypes. Men can be feminine and women can be masculine. A pronoun can become just that; a meaningless sound, chose which you prefer because there's no impetus for you to be more masculine or feminine or fit gender roles IF they're broadened enough.
There is a large difference between gender identity and gender expression. Acting masculine or feminine or androgynous isn’t going to help you if you’re still forced to identify with the gender that you are assigned at birth if you feel uncomfortable with it.
Given that, it seems the pragmatic ideal is more not to care what pronoun people use because it doesn't really mean anything…
It’s not really the pronoun itself so much that is the issue. It’s the intent with which it is being used. If somebody is deliberately misgendering you, they are doing it with the intent of hurting you emotionally.
Anyway, no time to respond to the rest now... maybe more evidence will come out later. Your point that nobody knows? Sure, but then on what basis is the call for anybody to deviate from existing language made?
On the basis that, as I said before, even if every single non-binary person were to vanish off of the face of the earth, it would still be useful to have a gender-neutral singular pronoun.
The implication that they would advance at the same rate doesn't follow from what I said.
At the very least, this shows that the progress of LGB people was not hindered by having them associated with trans people, and that there is no reason to believe that the progress of trans men and trans women will be hindered by having them associated with non-binary people.
That's possible. I don't know that this isn't the case. I don't tend to advocate lumping activism for different groups together.
That might be reasonable, but there would need to be more research done before we can be sure that it would be harmful to one particular group. It may in fact have the inverse effect. For instance, if somebody is already supportive of LGB people, having them associated with trans people may increase their support for trans people, etc. However, the fact that the rights of LGB people have progressed a great deal in recent years, whilst the rights of trans people have not progressed to the same extent, leads me to believe that there isn’t any effect of different groups being lumped together.
Nobody is unless or until there is a sufficient quantity of well done studies on the issue.
Studies on the issue of gender dysphoria are why we should prefer treating it with transitioning. Otherwise we should be skeptical of medicating people and doing surgeries to change their genders (do no harm?).
Non-binary people also experience gender dysphoria, and thus ought to be prescribed the same treatment.
And I'm sure rural working class conservatives knew what was best for them when they voted Trump too?
No. People generally don't know what's best for them. They jump from feeling to dogma, without the necessary empirical analysis.
I highly doubt they're doing that based on anything other than a general and non-pragmatic concern for social justice. That's fine if they feel that way, but that no more means it will help their causes than low-income Americans voting for Trump means he'll help them.
Reality doesn't bend to ideology.
I don’t think that working-class people from rural areas were more likely to be screwed over by Trump’s policies than working-class people from other areas. Yes, Trump may have succeeded in carrying the rust belt states, however, the majority of people from low income families did vote for Hillary Clinton, as Edison exit polling shows. Now, these are Brexit numbers, with only a very slim majority of those from low income families supporting Clinton. However, the fact remains that the majority of voters from low income families voted Clinton.
Even if it were the case that they didn’t, it still wouldn’t change the fact that people from a particular group are generally likely to know what will help that group more than people outside of that group, hence the fact that non-whites, non-Christians and LGBT people were overwhelmingly likely to vote for Clinton.
Demographics can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Unit ... mographics
1. There's no reason to believe that these people exist long-term. The vast majority of them are probably in a transitional state *to* trans, or will come to terms with their cisgender identity. Recognizing this as a stable gender identity *could* even prove harmful to their maturation. We don't know.
Again, this could just as easily be said for trans men and trans women:
1. There's no reason to believe that these people exist long-term. The vast majority of them are probably in a transitional state *to* nonbinary, or will come to terms with their cisgender identity. Recognizing this as a stable gender identity *may have* even proved harmful to their maturation. We don't know.
2. Even if you took a poor survey like that at face value and assumed they're all committed and will identify like this for life, "nonbinary" people are vastly outnumbered by BINARY trans people. Don't say they're the biggest group when we're comparing binary vs. non.
That doesn’t make them a minority within a minority any more than trans women are a minority within a minority, or trans men a minority within a minority.
You can't split trans men and trans women up and not split nonbinary people up into their original cisgender categories.
1. Why not?
2. Even if we were to do that, the number of non-binary people assigned female at birth would be 28%, only one percentage point lower than the number of trans men.
To be honest, I do think it was probably a mistake to have said “I'd need to see some research that points to nonbinary identity being a phase before I decide to ignore a group which is larger than the number of trans men or trans women” as it implies that a group’s validity is dependent upon how large they are.
Of course, you can make the argument that if a group was that small, there would be no need to restructure language to suit them, however:
1. There’s no need to restructure language as people already use they/them on a day to day basis.
2. As I’ve pointed out, it’s still useful to have they/them as a singular pronoun, regardless of nonbinary people.