Say what? “Transgender” pronouns are a war on language itself


 by Selwyn Duke


Languages do.


Anyone not enjoying a Rip Van Winkle slumber for the last 20 years will know that the above alludes to the “personal pronoun” obsession of the MUSS (Made-up Sexual Status, aka “transgender”) activists. Yet pronoun-norm manipulation goes back decades.


First it was feminists’ insistence that instead of the traditional English norm of using masculine pronouns when speaking generically, feminine ones be included, a phenomenon leading to clumsy, stylistically mutated prose. (“He who hesitates is lost” isn’t quite as punchy written, “He or she who hesitates is lost.”) Of course, for many years now I’ve seen writers avoid this by alternatively using masculine and feminine pronouns or even just the latter. (So much for literature-reflected “equality.”)


Another way some avoid those dreaded (toxically?) masculine pronouns is by using plural ones — e.g., “they, them” — when singular forms are indicated. Now the MUSS agenda has kicked this habit into high gear, too. Yet far from innocuous, this is nothing less than “a war on language.”


So warns commentator David Lanza today at American Thinker. Illustrating the kind of confusion the habit breeds, he writes:


One recent example I noticed was linked by and included the headline, “Non-Binary Ex-Biden Staffer Sam Brinton’s Family Calls Them A Liar, Claims Their Abuse Story Never Happened.” The headline is incomprehensible by traditional rules of grammar. The reader would not know who is meant by “Them” and “Their.” Even if we are familiar with Sam Brinton and his story, we would not know what people his family calls “a liar.” The plural words tell us that there are multiple third parties that Brinton’s family accuses. We are misled and distracted by those plural pronouns. An innocent reader would not have concluded that Brinton, himself, is the real target unless the reader undertook the process of clicking on the link and reading the article. The reader would then have to remember the new mandate that requires us to misread plural pronouns as applicable to single people – as the individual subject’s whim dictates. Singular is now plural. Plural is now singular. Words have no meaning.


If the Brinton story were the only example, no great harm would be done. But this trend is becoming common. The more controversial stories involving transgenderism “sow social chaos by hijacking our language, rendering it utterly unrecognizable even about the most basic of facts.” But plural/singular confusion does not require a school shooting to inflict harm upon the language. The improper juxtaposition of singular and plural is an offense to English in any context. Readers cannot click on every article and translate from the current trend to comprehensible language. Readers will skip most articles while glancing only at the scrolling headlines in the MSN feed. The plural pronouns make comprehension impossible in the brief time that most readers will devote to each headline before escaping to a new headline.

(Note, too, the Brinton headline is a species of fake news. That is, the man isn’t “non-binary” because no such state of being actually exists. It’s as if I insisted I was Julius Caesar and, upon reporting on my being committed, a publication wrote, “Great Conqueror and Empire Builder Placed in Psychiatric Care.”)


Lanza then points out that the singular and plural concepts are integral to language and that having no way of conveying them would render conversation impossible. They’ve become instinctive for us, he states (imagine I’d just written “they states”), and communicating using only proper names would make us sound like “primitive artificial intelligence.” Lanza also makes another point: By diminishing our ability to understand each other, pronoun manipulation may “isolate” us more than even political and cultural differences. And, of course, reducing communication makes it harder to iron out or manage political and cultural differences.


This isolation factor is significant. It’s well known that having a common language unites us. Well, having a common language includes having common adjectives, verbs, nouns (etc.) — and pronouns. As soon as people insist on having their own personal language with respect to a category of words, we then are to a degree speaking different languages.


Moreover, if we can personalize one category of words, why not another? If we can have “personal pronouns,” why not personal adjectives, verbs, and nouns, too? “I find your calling my pet a ‘dog’ offensive; they is a ‘furry emotional support being.’” “Don’t say I’m ‘coughing’; that carries a stigma. I call it ‘laughing.’”


For that matter, how about transforming every word category and having a whole personal language? English was originated by “heteronormative, white supremacist culture,” after all, right?


Lanza likens the language manipulation to the playing of God with linguistics. That the Left would do this is no surprise, either. While the Bible informs that “male and female He made them,” MUSS activists claim they can assume this power, making themselves male or female at will. (The feminists laid the foundation for this by previously doing something similar: denying what God created — male and female natures — by claiming all sex differences were learned.) Once you thus conclude you can actually play God, morphing the language to correspond to your twisted sense of self is small potatoes.


So the “personal pronoun” movement is profoundly selfish and self-centered. It reflects the mentality of people who fancy they can remake their bodies and society in deference to their own twisted emotions — and that you must submit to and endorse their will.


This is just partially why, as my writing evidences, I adhere to English’s traditional conventions. What’s now at issue goes beyond the rule, “The side that defines the vocabulary of a debate wins the debate”; here you could say, “The side that redefines the vocabulary of the language itself wins the culture.” And whether it’s “personal pronouns,” “gender” instead of “sex,” “transgenderism” instead of “mental illness,” or one of the other multitudinous language innovations, the Left effects them with an “In your face” attitude.


This raises a question: How do you combat this?


Stand on Truth and tradition, reclaim the language, and say “In your face” right back.


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