New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orders.

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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by Brian Peacock » Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:58 pm

"What are they like, eh?"
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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by laklak » Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:06 pm

Jo ma se bloed, etter poes.
Yeah well that's just, like, your opinion, man.

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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by Brian Peacock » Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:23 pm

Troof.
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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by JimC » Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:21 pm

Woof!
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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by rainbow » Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:23 am

laklak wrote:Jo ma se bloed, etter poes.
Zuma se possie:
Image
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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by Svartalf » Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:51 am

that's Zuma's own kraal?
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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by rainbow » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:27 pm

Svartalf wrote:that's Zuma's own kraal?
Yes, he paid for every penny of it.

Except for security upgrades.

Like the swimming fire pool, and the chicken run and some other stuff.
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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by pErvinalia » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:53 pm

I heard the taxpayer paid for a chunk of it...
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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by Forty Two » Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:33 pm

L'Emmerdeur wrote:
Forty Two wrote:In Chaucer's day, the rules of grammar and spelling were not consistent. They were all over the map. It's not really relevant to use their usages, from the 14th or 15th century, to discuss modern English usage.
Again it appears that you've failed to read the cited source. It is not just Chaucer that is mentioned, and not just "14th or 15th century" usage that is presented. What is presented is a list of respected English language authors going back to Chaucer and right up through the 20th century who used the singular "they." If you did read the article, then you're being deliberately obtuse when you jump on my use of his name to make the specious point above.
Most of the ones you cited were very old. The more recent one was CS Lewis, and most of the usages of "they" involve words like "everybody." Colloquially, this kind of "error" (I use that word loosely, because I acknowledge that language is not carved in stone) generally involves words that are a bit tricky in that sense. Language isn't mathematics, and as such there are general rules and invariably exceptions. And, good writers often purposefully use "incorrect" grammar. But, as my old writing teacher used to say, first you have to understand the rules, then you can intelligently break them.
L'Emmerdeur wrote:
Forty Two wrote:For the last 150 years, the singular "they" has been considered by most grammarians as incorrect. That's not "looking down noses" or sneering at it. I'm not judgmental about changing usages, and language changes.


So we have centuries of a particular usage being completely acceptable, and then at some point it was decided by many grammarians that the usage was no longer acceptable. Let's look at why that decision was made.
Not "completely acceptable." You've cited examples of it being done, sure. But, that is a far cry from "completely acceptable." e.e. cummings sometimes wrote his name with no upper case letters. Is that "completely acceptable" because he did it?

So it seems that it was only in the late 18th century or early 19th century, when prescriptive grammarians started attacking singular "their" because this didn't seem to them to accord with the "logic" of the Latin language, that it began to be more or less widely taught that the construction was bad grammar. The prohibition against singular "their" then joined the other arbitrary prescriptions created from naïve analogies between English and Latin -- such as the prohibition against ending a sentence with a preposition.
Indeed - a good deal of solidification of the rules of grammar occurred then, because, like I said, in the 14th through 16th centuries, grammar and spelling were all over the map.

The misguided and unfounded attempt to make English grammar conform to the strictures of Latin grammar is responsible for many ridiculous and useless rules favoured by those who thrive on stroking their own egos by correcting the way that others speak and write. The artificial and ahistorical attempt to quash the singular "they" is just one example of this.
It's not so much that, but a recognition that English is a language, and languages do have structures. You can't remove all rules from language, or it ceases to be a language. One can make this argument about rules for anything. The fact that we spell the word "fact" F-A-C-T is a rule. Should be just as acceptable to spell it P-H-A-C-T? or P-H-A-K-T? Just arbitrary rules, ridiculous and useless, right?

Of course not, the use is in the facilitation of communication. Grammar rules are relatively important when we look at communication, because they can help assure that writers/speakers and readers/listeners are able to understand what is being said. Regular misuse of singular and plural pronouns can sometimes confound meaning.
L'Emmerdeur wrote:
Forty Two wrote:Like I said, some grammarians think it's o.k., and others think it's improper. Either way, it's all just opinion with some sort of argument behind it as to why it should be one way or the other.

To me, it sounds awkward in most instances to use they in reference to singular. It can be confusing. "Pat went to the store, and then they bought a pack of cigarettes." Doesn't sound right, and the use of "they" in that sentence creates confusion because Pat is one person but they refers to a group. Is they in that sentence referring to Pat, or some other people?
OK, so you don't like it.
It's not just that I don't like it. I added reasons why it is not a good usage. It causes confusion in the kind of sentence I used as an example.
L'Emmerdeur wrote: In your example sentence, it is clear that "Pat" is a singular subject. Very few who have a good understanding of English are going to think that the subsequent pronoun is referring to a group, given the fact that the singular "they" has a long unbroken history in English usage.
Not true, because the use of the word "they" implies a different object. Pat went to the store, and they bought a pack of cigarettes. Who is "they?" It raises the reasonable question of whether there are people other than Pat that are buying the ciggies.
L'Emmerdeur wrote: You may find it confusing, but I think that practically no native speakers of English would, and I dare say few who have a decent grounding in English as a second language are going to have trouble with it, either.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I find that the elimination of these rules, however, creates a muddled composition, and has the effect of confusing writing. That is not to say that there is no way to accommodate other gender issues. Language can change, and often should. I just don't feel compelled to accept every solution proposed, simply because it is proposed. I suspect a different usage can be devised that would solve the problem without adding to the already rampant problem of confused writing.
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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by Brian Peacock » Thu Jun 09, 2016 1:39 am

Forty Two wrote:... That is not to say that there is no way to accommodate other gender issues ...
"Which is not to say there are no ways to accommodate other gender issues."

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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Jun 09, 2016 1:46 am

Forty Two wrote:
L'Emmerdeur wrote:
Forty Two wrote:Like I said, some grammarians think it's o.k., and others think it's improper. Either way, it's all just opinion with some sort of argument behind it as to why it should be one way or the other.

To me, it sounds awkward in most instances to use they in reference to singular. It can be confusing. "Pat went to the store, and then they bought a pack of cigarettes." Doesn't sound right, and the use of "they" in that sentence creates confusion because Pat is one person but they refers to a group. Is they in that sentence referring to Pat, or some other people?
OK, so you don't like it.
It's not just that I don't like it. I added reasons why it is not a good usage. It causes confusion in the kind of sentence I used as an example.
It's not confusing at all. It's clear from that sentence that it is unknown whether Pat is a man or a woman.
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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by JimC » Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:00 am

If it had been preceded by sentences describing Pat hanging out with a group, then the "they" would indeed produce potential confusion in the way that Forty Two meant.
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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by L'Emmerdeur » Thu Jun 09, 2016 4:32 am

Forty Two wrote:
L'Emmerdeur wrote:
Forty Two wrote:In Chaucer's day, the rules of grammar and spelling were not consistent. They were all over the map. It's not really relevant to use their usages, from the 14th or 15th century, to discuss modern English usage.
Again it appears that you've failed to read the cited source. It is not just Chaucer that is mentioned, and not just "14th or 15th century" usage that is presented. What is presented is a list of respected English language authors going back to Chaucer and right up through the 20th century who used the singular "they." If you did read the article, then you're being deliberately obtuse when you jump on my use of his name to make the specious point above.
Most of the ones you cited were very old.
That's because it's a usage that has been around for a very long time. (I actually skipped the first five quotations.) Though you're doing a fine job of ignoring it, that's the point of the list: This usage has been part of the English language for centuries, even after certain misguided grammarians decided to try to make English conform to Latin grammar. Many of the rules that were alien to English which they attempted to enforce have since fallen by the wayside, though there are some who for no good reason cling to them to this day.
Forty Two wrote:The more recent one was CS Lewis, and most of the usages of "they" involve words like "everybody." Colloquially, this kind of "error" (I use that word loosely, because I acknowledge that language is not carved in stone) generally involves words that are a bit tricky in that sense. Language isn't mathematics, and as such there are general rules and invariably exceptions. And, good writers often purposefully use "incorrect" grammar.
If you're referring to this list, I suggest you have your eyes checked. There are two quotes that are more recent than the C.S. Lewis quote. None of the quotations in that list are of good writers purposefully using incorrect grammar. Everything on the list (except for the C.S. Lewis quote) is from the Oxford English Dictionary, as noted in that post.
Forty Two wrote:But, as my old writing teacher used to say, first you have to understand the rules, then you can intelligently break them.
If the basis of the rule is artificial, and if the rule is not universally accepted by reputable grammarians (not to mention respected writers of the language) then it doesn't actually qualify as a sound rule.
Forty Two wrote:
L'Emmerdeur wrote:So we have centuries of a particular usage being completely acceptable, and then at some point it was decided by many grammarians that the usage was no longer acceptable. Let's look at why that decision was made.
Not "completely acceptable." You've cited examples of it being done, sure. But, that is a far cry from "completely acceptable." e.e. cummings sometimes wrote his name with no upper case letters. Is that "completely acceptable" because he did it?
The case of E.E. Cummings is a red herring. It was because of his unorthodox poetry that some publishers decided to use lower case on the covers some of his books, and he used that style for his own name only rarely. There is no legitimate comparison between a single poet who had an unorthodox approach to capitalization, and the large number of acknowledged masters of English prose who used (and continue to use) the singular "they." If you want to bring some solid evidence, I suggest you cite any example from before the late 1700s of somebody saying that the usage was improper. It's clear that it was standard English before certain grammarians attempted to graft Latin grammar onto the English language, and that it remained so even during their heyday.
Forty Two wrote:
So it seems that it was only in the late 18th century or early 19th century, when prescriptive grammarians started attacking singular "their" because this didn't seem to them to accord with the "logic" of the Latin language, that it began to be more or less widely taught that the construction was bad grammar. The prohibition against singular "their" then joined the other arbitrary prescriptions created from naïve analogies between English and Latin -- such as the prohibition against ending a sentence with a preposition.
Indeed - a good deal of solidification of the rules of grammar occurred then, because, like I said, in the 14th through 16th centuries, grammar and spelling were all over the map.
Spelling moreso than grammar. In the field of grammar, what the prescriptivists sometimes attempted to do was create new rules that had nothing to do with existing English grammar, rather than regularizing that existing grammar. In some cases they succeeded, in others they failed. These grammarians attempted to replace the singular "they" with the generic "he." That may have worked for a while, but no longer. The generic "he" has had its day, and it is being retired as English returns to the usage which existed before the meddling of the overzealous grammarians who tried to enforce their Latin rules on a language whose roots do not go back to Latin.
Forty Two wrote:
L'Emmerdeur wrote:The misguided and unfounded attempt to make English grammar conform to the strictures of Latin grammar is responsible for many ridiculous and useless rules favoured by those who thrive on stroking their own egos by correcting the way that others speak and write. The artificial and ahistorical attempt to quash the singular "they" is just one example of this.
It's not so much that, but a recognition that English is a language, and languages do have structures. You can't remove all rules from language, or it ceases to be a language. One can make this argument about rules for anything. The fact that we spell the word "fact" F-A-C-T is a rule. Should be just as acceptable to spell it P-H-A-C-T? or P-H-A-K-T? Just arbitrary rules, ridiculous and useless, right?

Of course not, the use is in the facilitation of communication. Grammar rules are relatively important when we look at communication, because they can help assure that writers/speakers and readers/listeners are able to understand what is being said. Regular misuse of singular and plural pronouns can sometimes confound meaning.
That's a particularly feeble straw man you built there. I have not even suggested that we should remove all rules from language. What I've done is cited several sources that give the history of the artificial rule against the use of the singular "they," and show why the rule has no genuine basis in English usage. I can cite several more, but I realize that you probably haven't bothered to read any of those I've presented already.
Forty Two wrote:You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I find that the elimination of these rules, however, creates a muddled composition, and has the effect of confusing writing. That is not to say that there is no way to accommodate other gender issues. Language can change, and often should. I just don't feel compelled to accept every solution proposed, simply because it is proposed. I suspect a different usage can be devised that would solve the problem without adding to the already rampant problem of confused writing.
Again, I'm not advocating elimination of the rules of grammar, but by all means carry on thrashing that poor scarecrow.

You can become the hero of reactionary stuffed shirts the world over if you can "devise" a "different usage." Beyond an occasional ambiguity, there is nothing wrong with the singular "they," whether you're willing to admit that or not, and it will continue to be a part of English as it has been for hundreds and hundreds of years.

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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by Forty Two » Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:03 pm

eRv wrote:
Forty Two wrote:
L'Emmerdeur wrote:
Forty Two wrote:Like I said, some grammarians think it's o.k., and others think it's improper. Either way, it's all just opinion with some sort of argument behind it as to why it should be one way or the other.

To me, it sounds awkward in most instances to use they in reference to singular. It can be confusing. "Pat went to the store, and then they bought a pack of cigarettes." Doesn't sound right, and the use of "they" in that sentence creates confusion because Pat is one person but they refers to a group. Is they in that sentence referring to Pat, or some other people?
OK, so you don't like it.
It's not just that I don't like it. I added reasons why it is not a good usage. It causes confusion in the kind of sentence I used as an example.
It's not confusing at all. It's clear from that sentence that it is unknown whether Pat is a man or a woman.
It's not logically clear, as "they" may refer to some other people, because it's generally a pronoun used with plural nouns.
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Re: New York City is fining people for ignoring pronoun orde

Post by pErvinalia » Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:13 pm

Except when it is used for a singular person, like in the example.
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