Over the past few days I've been doing a lot of thinking and talking about they/them pronouns, singular they vs. plural they, and how best to present the they/them checkbox option on the annual survey.
(Following this blog post, mainly: https://gendercensus.tumblr.com/post/651198185451175937/on-plural-they-and-plural-inclusivity)
@gendercensus Even in this thread I'm unsure whether plural they means "they referring to multiple people" or "they/.../themselves referring to any number of people"
@madewokherd There are three theys:
Singular they - referring to one person, any reflexive but usually "themself", e.g. "they are a writer"
Plural they - referring to two or more people, reflexive "themselves", e.g. "they are writers"
Indefinite they - referring to an indistinct other of unknown number, any reflexive probably, e.g. "they say it's good to write what you know..."
@madewokherd @gendercensus the problem is that people who study languages are very sure that indefinite they (‘could you tell whoever left their phone’ etc) is a distinct pronoun set, even though it has historically used the same reflexive as the other theys
And once you let one ‘words are identical, context is different’ in...
@madewokherd @Satsuma That makes sense, but the purpose of the word being included doesn't prevent you from being able to check the box, and it also future-proofs a little bit for in case people start wanting to specify that their pronouns are some other type of "they". Considering people enter identity words and pronouns with asterisks and numbers in, I would be 0% surprised if people started specifying indefinite they as their pronouns in the textboxes... :D
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