Peep Yo: Baltimore Students Invent Gender-Neutral Pronoun
<p>The English language has at least one glaring deficiency: There is no gender-neutral pronoun to refer to other people. English speakers have always been forced to use either “he” or “she” when referring to others, until now. According to a recent study in <a title=”the linguistics journal <I>American Speech</I>” href=”http://americanspeech.dukejournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/82/3/262″ target=”_blank”>the linguistics journal <i>American Speech</i>
</a>, Baltimore students have begun using the word “yo” as a gender-neutral pronoun, effectively replacing both “he” and “she.”</p>
<p>Examples of usage include “Peep yo,” meaning “Look at him or her,” or “Yo’s wearing a coat” meaning “(s)he is wearing a coat.” In an interview on <a title=”<I>Fair Game</I> from Public Radio International” href=”http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/fairgame/.jukebox?action=viewMedia&mediaId=665823&podcastId=3567″ target=”_blank”>
<i>Fair Game</i> from Public Radio International</a>, Margaret Troyer, a teacher who helped identify the pronoun and co-wrote the study, said that it’s considered extremely difficult to invent a new pronoun. When asked how these young students were able to inject more gender equity into the English language, Troyer said, “Maybe they just invented a new pronoun because they didn’t know that they couldn’t.”</p>
<font color=”#800080″>Bennett Gordon</font>
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