The Spivak pronouns are new terms proposed to serve as gender-neutral third-person singular personal pronouns in English (see gender-neutral pronouns). These neologisms are 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, they are very rare compared to other solutions and most commentators feel that it is unlikely that they will catch on.
There are two variants of the Spivak pronouns in use, as shown in the table below. See Declension for more information on each of the cases.
| ||Subject ||Object ||Possessive Adjective ||Possessive Pronoun ||Reflexive |
|Male ||He laughed ||I hit him ||His face bled ||I am his ||He shaves himself |
|Female ||She laughed ||I hit her ||Her face bled ||I am hers ||She shaves herself |
|Spivak ||E laughed ||I hit em ||Eir face bled ||I am eirs ||E shaves emself |
|Spivak (alternative) ||Ey laughed ||I hit Em ||Eir face bled ||I am Eirs ||Ey shaves Eirself |
This pronoun set was originated by Michael Spivak, a mathematician-educator who used them in a number of books. It is also the favoured choice of certain people who have written about the subject, such as in Footnotes: Pronouns (http://willow.dyndns.org/footnotes/pronouns.html) and in the Gender-Neutral Pronoun FAQ (http://www.aetherlumina.com/gnp/).
Spivak is one of the allowable genders on many MUDs and MOOs. Others might include some selection of: male, female, neuter, either, both, splat, plural, egotistical, royal, and 2nd. The selected gender determines how the game engine refers to a player.
In the event that E enters standard English, it will be the fourth word of one letter, the others being I, A, and O.
Publications employing Spivak pronouns
- The Joy of TeX (Michael Spivak)
- Comprehensive Introduction to Differential Geometry (Michael Spivak)
- Calculus on Manifolds (Michael Spivak)
- The Paradox of Self-Amendment: A Study of Logic, Law, Omnipotence, and Change (Peter Suber)