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Encyclopedia > Sie and hir

Sie and hir are inflected forms of a proposed gender-neutral third person singular personal pronoun for the English language (see gender-neutral pronouns). This neologism is used by some people who feel that there are problems with gender-specific pronouns because they imply sex and/or gender (see non-sexist language). However, sie and hir are very rare compared to other solutions and most commentators feel that it is unlikely that they will catch on. Third person redirects here, but can also mean: Third Person, a New York City improvising trio A perspective (storytelling) Grammatical person, in linguistics, is deictic reference to the participant role of a referent, such as the speaker, the addressee, and others. ... Number, in linguistics, is a grammatical category used to express the quantity of objects referred to by a noun. ... In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun or noun phrase with or without a determiner, such as you and they in English. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Gender-neutral or epicene pronouns are pronouns that neither reveal nor imply the gender or the sex of a person or thing being referred to. ... A neologism is word, term, or phrase which has been recently created (coined) —often to apply to new concepts, or to reshape older terms in newer language form. ... Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Sex positions Francoeur, Robert T. (ed. ... It has been suggested that Masculinity be merged into this article or section. ... Gender-neutral language (gender-generic, gender-inclusive, non-sexist, or sex-neutral language) is language that attempts to refer neither to males nor females when discussing an abstract or hypothetical person whose sex cannot otherwise be determined, as opposed to more traditional language forms, which may use male or female...


Some science fiction writers have been known to use the sie and hir pronouns for fictional intersex characters (such as Burgoyne 172 in the Star Trek: New Frontier series). Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... An intersexual is a person (or individual of any unisexual species) who is born with genitalia and/or secondary sexual characteristics of indeterminate sex, or which combine features of both sexes. ... Star Trek: New Frontier is a Star Trek novel series created by Peter David. ...


The recommended usage is shown in the table below. See Declension for more information on each of the cases. In linguistics, declension is a feature of inflected languages: generally, the alteration of a noun to indicate its grammatical role. ...

Subject Object Possessive adjective Possessive pronoun Reflexive
Male He laughed I hit him His face bled I am his He washes himself
Female She laughed I hit her Her face bled I am hers She washes herself
Neuter It laughed I hit it Its face bled I am its It washes itself
Gender-neutral Sie laughed I hit hir Hir face bled I am hirs Sie washes hirself

You can capitalise these words for all of the reasons you might capitalise other pronouns. For example, if you believe in a transgendered deity, then you might pray to Hir in the hope that Sie will intervene in your life. The nominative case is a grammatical case for a noun. ... The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a verb. ... Headline text hjvhwhatsgm,Possessive adjectives modify nouns. ... A possessive pronoun is a word that attributes ownership to someone or something without using a noun. ... In some languages, there is a difference between reflexive and non-reflexive pronouns. ... Male symbol Male is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces sperm. ... Female symbol Female is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces egg cells. ... The word neuter can refer to: the property of being neither biologically male or female: being asexual the sterilization (castration, spaying, etc. ... Majuscules or capital letters (in the Roman alphabet: A, B, C, ...) are one type of case in a writing system. ... Transgender is generally used as a catch-all umbrella term for a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups centered around the full or partial reversal of gender roles; however, compare other definitions below. ... A deity or a god, is a postulated preternatural being, usually, but not always, of significant power, worshipped, thought holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, or respected by human beings. ...

Contents


Etymology

Consider someone trying to put a left hand into a right-handed glove; if either the glove or the hand is replaced with its reverse you'll get a gloved hand. Obviously this doesn't work if the person specifically wants this glove on hir left hand
First recorded usage of hir on usenetMay 26, 1981

The ancestors of this pronoun set could date back to at least the 1930s: to hes, hir, hem (quoted in the Washington Post), and se, sim, sis (quoted in the Liverpool Echo). Some people believe that the current form has been in use since the 1980s. Usenet is a distributed Internet discussion system that evolved from a general purpose UUCP network of the same name. ... May 26 is the 146th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (147th in leap years). ... 1981 (MCMLXXXI) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... // Events and trends The 1930s were described as an abrupt shift to more radical lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the global depression. ... ... The Liverpool Echo and Liverpool Daily Post are two newspapers published by Trinity Mirror on Merseyside in the United Kingdom. ... The 1980s in its most obvious sense refers to the decade between 1980 and 1989. ...


Hir probably comes from patching together his, him, and her – sharing the common "h" and taking an "i" from his or him and an "r" from her. Alternatively, it might come from the pronoun hir in Chaucer's English, meaning "her". Once you have hir, extending it to hirs and hirself is quite natural. Chaucer: Illustration from Cassells History of England, circa 1902 Chanticleer the rooster from an outdoor production of Chanticleer and the Fox at Ashby_de_la_Zouch castle Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. ...


One theory for the origin of sie is that it came from S(he), I(t), (h)E. Another is that it was borrowed from the German sie, which means you, she, her, they, or them depending on context and/or capitalisation.


Pronunciation Guide

Like many neologisms introduced on the internet, different people pronounce these words in different ways. The most common pronunciations are included here, along with pronunciation guides — see the International Phonetic Alphabet for English to decode them. Pronunciation refers to: the way a word or a language is usually spoken; the manner in which someone utters a word. ... Symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet as used for English. ...

  • Sie /si:/ or /zi:/. About three quarters of people in a quick sample of usenet said they pronounced this roughly like see /si:/, while the rest said they pronounced it roughly like zee /zi:/, as the German word is.
  • Hir /hi:ə(r)/ or /hɜ:/. About three quarters of the sample said they pronounced this roughly like hear /hi:ə(r)/, while the rest said they pronounced it roughly like her /hɜ:/.
  • Hirs and Hirself — extended from hir in the way you'd expect: adding an "s" or self sound onto the end. Of course, this can vary depending on how you choose to pronounce hir.

Problems with "sie" and "hir"

These are some of the arguments some people make against these pronouns:

  • There are existing solutions, such as singular they, or the neutral third person it, that render neologisms unnecessary.
  • Sie and hir, unlike they, have not evolved naturally in spoken English. Instead they have been imposed artificially. Historically, such examples of language have not had significant staying power.
  • Sie and hir are unintuitive and cumbersome.
  • The variation in pronunciation and the similarity to the corresponding female pronouns and other words could cause confusion.
  • In proper English usage, the male pronouns are historically also gender-neutral pronouns.
  • Sie and hir have a female bias because they sound similar to the corresponding female pronouns. Furthermore, they resemble sie and ihr, the female pronoun in German. (Historically this was an asset: the initial uptake was probably helped by irritation at the use of male pronouns as gender-free terms.)

Singular they, sometimes called epicene they, is the use in English of the gender-neutral third-person plural pronouns they, their, them, and so on, to refer to a single person, usually but not always of indeterminate gender. ... Female symbol Female is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces egg cells. ... Male symbol Male is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces sperm. ...

Variants

  • Zie and zir were introduced slightly later to correct the perceived female bias of sie and hir. The Z is pronounced similarly to tz. This pronoun set is now thought to be about as common as sie and hir, though neither are widespread.
  • Kate Bornstein uses ze and hir thoughout her book My Gender Workbook.
  • Xe is another common replacement for sie
  • Shi is sometimes seen as an alternative to sie, especially among the furry community. It is pronounced like shay. Some also pronounce hir similar to hair, or the German herr.
  • People commonly use they and them when they are talking about an indefinite person and feel the need to use a gender-neutral pronoun.

Kate Bornstein is a transgender author, playwright, performance artist and gender theorist. ... Xe, xyr, and xem are gender-neutral pronouns designed to supplement the existing pronouns in the English language. ... Ve a gender-neutral pronoun that has not gained widespread acceptance. ... Greg Egan (born August 20, 1961) is an Australian (Perth-based) computer programmer and science fiction author. ... Look up Furry on Wiktionary, the free dictionary Furry is slang often used by members within the furry fandom which may refer to: A character or artwork depicting anthropomorphic or zoomorphic characeristics. ... Singular they, sometimes called epicene they, is the use in English of the gender-neutral third-person plural pronouns they, their, them, and so on, to refer to a single person, usually but not always of indeterminate gender. ...

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Sie and hir (592 words)
Sie and hir are two terms proposed to serve as gender-neutral third person singular personal pronouns in English (see gender-neutral pronouns).
One theory for the origin of sie is that it came from S(he), I(t), (h)E. Another is that it was borrowed from the German sie, which means you, she, her, it, they, or them depending on context.
sie and hir have a female bias, because they sound similar to the corresponding female pronouns.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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