Jason (jcreed) wrote,
Jason
jcreed

Although I find Geoff Pullum's explanation of Sean Lennon's singular they in this Language Log post pretty plausible, there's another influential pragmatic factor, I think: Lennon is jokingly phrasing his request as if it were a job ad, and in such a context, epicene they is ubiquitous in the name of politically correct gender-neutrality. In fact, even as someone perhaps even more than average ready to accept 'the way singular they is going in the speech of younger people' (just ask lambdacalculus, my arch-nemesis on the issue) using they when the gender of the antecedent is not only known but contextually required to be female is still a little jarring --- but just enough to trigger the association in my mind with the cold and cautious tone of classified ads, which I'm pretty sure is exactly what Lennon is aiming at.
Tags: linguistics
Subscribe

  • (no subject)

    Something that's bugged me for a long time is this: How many paths, starting at the origin, taking N steps either up, down, left or right, end up at…

  • (no subject)

    Still sad that SAC seems to end up being as complicated as it is. Surely there's some deeper duality between…

  • (no subject)

    I had already been meaning to dig into JaneSt's "Incremental" library, which bills itself as a practical implementation (in ocaml) of the ideas in…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 7 comments