pronouns, english grammar, gender (tiny thread) 

What a lot of people covertly realise, but don't articulate, is that pronouns in English are marked for both gender AND animacy. This is why it's generally disturbing to refer to a person as "it," because that pronoun is only for things. (And that's part of why it doesn't have a gender, objects don't have gender.)

But the fact that pronouns mark for social personhood is part of why it's so important to refer to someone with the right pronoun.


pronouns, english grammar, gender (tiny thread) 

@ErikaAlpert this is a great point. Hadn't thought of 'animacy' as part of pronoun aspect - but you're totally right. Will have to do some thinking about how this works for the "ghosts of extinction" and whether we can tinker with animacy as a playful intervention.

pronouns, english grammar, gender (tiny thread) 

@kidwellj I definitely see a few people in the fediverse with "it" as a preferred pronoun and I'm certain there's some kind of animacy as a playful intervention thing going on there. It's a preference that gives me some very base of the spine shivers, I'll say, so if the goal is some kind of unsettling, it's definitely working.

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