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What's Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She

Dennis Baron

$39.95

Hardback

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Liveright
04 March 2020
Historical & comparative linguistics; Society & Social Sciences; Gender studies, gender groups
Like trigger warnings and gender-neutral bathrooms, pronouns are sparking a national debate, prompting new policies in schools, workplaces, even prisons, about what pronouns to use. Colleges ask students to declare their pronouns along with their majors; corporate conferences print name tags with space to add pronouns; email signatures sport pronouns along with names and titles. Far more than a by-product of the culture wars, gender-neutral pronouns are, however, nothing new. Pioneering linguist Dennis Baron puts them in historical context, noting that Shakespeare used singular-they; women invoked the generic use of he to assert the right to vote (while those opposed to women's rights invoked the same word to assert that he did not include she); and people have been coining new gender pronouns, not just hir and zie, for centuries. Based on Baron's own empirical research, What's Your Pronoun? chronicles the story of the role pronouns have played-and continue to play-in establishing both our rights and our identities. It is an essential work in understanding how twenty-first-century culture has evolved.
By:   Dennis Baron
Imprint:   Liveright
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 147mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   411g
ISBN:   9781631496042
ISBN 10:   1631496042
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   04 March 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Dennis Baron professor emeritus of English and linguistics at the University of Illinois, has long been a national commentator on language issues, from the Washington Post to NPR and CNN. A recent Guggenheim Fellow, he lives in Champaign, Illinois.

Reviews for What's Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She

A thorough history of pronoun debates.... Guggenheim fellow Baron examines what seems like a contemporary question with a historical lens. In this primer, he reveals a centuries-long search for a singular gender-neutral pronoun in English, dispelling persistent myths that such a quest is a recent effort or the product of politically correct motivations.... The author's playful tone imbues the text with friendly sensitivity, and readers will appreciate his decades of research and meticulous attention to documents and sources. The result is a book that reflects the transformational capacity of language. A lively book for language lovers, those confused about uses of they/them, and anyone curious about writing while gendered. A deep dive all the way back to the first English grammars of the seventeenth century.... [Baron] concludes with a flourish: an uberambitious, 58-page chronology of gender-neutral and nonbinary pronouns. Esoteric? Yes, but catnip for the grammarian, especially the culturally and politically conscious variety.--Michael Cart, Booklist


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