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The Inclusivity of Language: Gender Issues

The singular ‘they’ can be used to replace the generic appropriately ‘he’ for gender neutrality fulfilment. It is essential as it makes language seem more inclusive in terms of gender. An experiment was undertaken on how fast ‘they’ were read against the pronouns to get a clear picture. From the experiment, clauses with the word ‘they’ were read much more quickly than those with the pronouns (Brown, 2019). The usage of ‘they’ to denote a singular individual whose gender is unknown has been frequently used, even in many writings. The ‘he’ when used refers to a male individual and is not all-inclusive. Therefore, to avoid this, writers and editors have begun using ‘they’ for gender inclusivity. It is appropriate for writers to use the singular; it looks more natural than ‘he’ (Foertsch & Gernsbacher, 1997). However, it is problematic to use it to address people with unknown or known gender. It could be impressive if there were an appropriate word to replace the pronoun ‘he,’ though it is unavailable.

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The most suitable word that can replace ‘he’ is the singular ‘they’ based on the experiment (Brown, 2019). The word ‘they’ has been firmly rooted in the American lexicon and has resulted from the bold resistance of biased language. However, it is not clear if individuals using the singular are ungrammatical. Given that the word has been used repeatedly in everyday English, it is no more surprising to refer to neutrality. Similarly, sentences with they can be read more quickly compared with the ones with the pronouns. It is attributed to the fact that they do not give new information regarding gender. Oppositely, he and she add more information concerning the gender, hence resulting in biasness. Therefore, a word that provides more information takes a substantial amount of time to be processed. Hence, a reader is often slow to process a clause that has gender-sensitive words.

References

Brown, M. H. (2019). The reality and necessity of teaching singular ‘they’. PanSig Journal, 28-35. Web.

Foertsch, J., & Gernsbacher, M. (1997). In search of gender neutrality: Is singular they a cognitively efficient substitute for generic he? Psychological Science, 8(2), 106-111.

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StudyCorgi. "The Inclusivity of Language: Gender Issues." November 16, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-inclusivity-of-language-gender-issues/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Inclusivity of Language: Gender Issues." November 16, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-inclusivity-of-language-gender-issues/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Inclusivity of Language: Gender Issues'. 16 November.

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