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.
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