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About the use of epicene "they" in technical documents.

Le Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 02:36:19PM -0300, Steve Langasek a écrit :
> > > "They" has been used for exactly that purpose in English for centuries and
> > > is used naturally and routinely by English speakers in common speech. [...]

Le Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 11:16:44AM -0700, Russ Allbery a écrit :
> It's a single person with indeterminate gender, which is exactly the use
> case for the epicene they.  I believe you're simply wrong here.  This
> supposedly stilted and contrived construct routinely goes unremarked and
> unnoticed by native English speakers who are not concentrating on applying
> prescriptive grammar rules.

Hi all,

please have some pity for the non-native speakers, who are taught that
"they" is the third person plural pronoun.

> This thread seems to establish that you're in a small minority with this
> opinion.

Maybe the majority is refraining to participate to the discussion, given
that Lucas and Adeato agreed that the DEP patch will stay consistent with
the global style of the Developpers Reference, and that nobody proposed
to change it?

Since 1999 I work in international environments in which people from
many different countries communicate in English everyday, and I have
never ever heard somebody saying "they" when he was meaning "he", nor
any misunderstanding happened between us about the fact that "he" does
not imply male sex.

But again, most persons in these environments are non-native speakers…

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Debian Med packaging team,
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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