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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Use Of Gender Neutral Pronouns Discriminates Against First Nation Canadians

The Nuxalk people of British Columbia have no letter "Z" in their language and are therefore unable to confuse each other with gender neutral pronouns such as "zie" and "zir".

Their version of Scrabble has 212 tiles, but not the letters B, D, E, F, G, J, O, R, V and Z:

  • 1 pointA ×25, S ×20, T ×12, I ×10, K ×10, LH ×9, M ×9, TS ×8, U ×8
  • 2 pointsL ×7, N ×7, Q ×6,  ×6, Y ×6, TLʼ ×5, X ×5
  • 3 pointsAA ×4, C ×4, CW ×4,  ×4, KW ×4, P ×4,  ×4, TSʼ ×4, XW ×4
  • 4 pointsKWʼ ×4, W ×4, QW ×3, UU ×2
  • 5 pointsQWʼ ×3, II ×2
  • 7 points ×2
  • 9 pointsH ×2
  • 11 points7 ×2

It is difficult to describe the agony this has caused them. They must content themselves with the far less zingy alternatives: "sie, hir, hir, hirs, hirself" - omitting the letter "e", of course. Oh, and "r" and "f".

Uck, as doubtless they would say if they were aware of the issue.

Poor things.

And they have the nerve to call their language Bella Coola!

2 comments:

Paddington said...

I have very mixed feelings on this issue. On one hand, as a friend said recently, "I'm too old to learn new rules of grammar." On the other, I know several transgender people (both directions), and they deserve to be called what they want to be called.

Sackerson said...

I have every sympathy with transgender people - and it's got a long history (think of Gordon Langley Hall - or even Tiresias). Though the prejudice against them seems to exist even among some gays.

But I am against legislating language - Orwell was right about the dangers of messing with our symbolic systems. Everybody should be treated fairly, decently and politely and then these micro-issues shouldn't matter. English adapts and mutates by common usage, not by lawyers and politicians poking their noses in.

We seem to be losing the capacity for restrained debate, and what used to be known as good manners.