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Re: Hebrew Translation for Debian About Page

On Wed, 18 Jun 2008, MJ Ray wrote:
> When reasonably possible, phrase things in such a way to avoid
> assuming gender, or switch some examples, but don't assume that the
> Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is true or use it to justify the sort of
> language errors that certain debian-women members advocate in
> English.

There's no inherent error in using singular they. It may not agree
with your perception of style or seem awkward to you, but many
grammarians are on both sides, and singular they has enough traction
in modern English to be acceptable. As users of a language, we can
quite easily decide that a single word will fill in for both singular
and plural pronouns of indeterminate gender.

In any event, using gendered pronouns when the gender is indeterminate
is perceived to be discriminatory, and as such needs to be avoided.
Whether or not Shapir-Whorf is actuality, the perception of
contributors is important. Multiple contributors to the project have
weighed in on this issue and their perception of gendered pronouns.

There are two choices: rewrite sentences to avoid the use of
indeterminate gendered pronouns entirely, or use singular they. I
happen to prefer the former as well, but occasionally use the latter
when the former is awkward. Only in lapses of style do I use gendered
pronouns when the gender is indeterminate.

Don Armstrong

"One disk to rule them all, One disk to find them. One disk to bring
them all and in the darkness grind them. In the Land of Redmond
where the shadows lie." -- The Silicon Valley Tarot

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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