Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Monstrosity Of Gender Correct Language

There used to be

But they're all amateurs now.


On Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 1:21 PM, Fred Owens <> wrote:

Dear Alan,

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”

–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am a foe of inclusive grammar and the way it butchers the majesty and cadence of language like this. Should I point out the errors in Dr. King's sentence and suggest the correct terminology according to current gender-free standards?

I especially miss brotherhood as a word and as a concept. If only we had achieved it!

Sons must be changed to children, of course, but that changes the rhythm of this phrase. English speech is full of strong one-syllable words, like "sons" and "red hills." Words like these are one of the glories of our language, but it must be changed to children.

And brotherhood. I'm afraid there is no easy substitution. Personhood? Brotherhood and sisterhood? You might more broadly alter the text and say "at a table of harmony and good will." That doesn't sound too bad.

But I do miss brotherhood most of all.
your friend,

Dear Fred,

Thanks for your emails.

I too rankle when I find no acceptable way out of "he or she" or "him or her" and struggle mightily to avoid those monstrosity.

For years I've written "s/he" instead of "he or she," and when I read "s/he" in my head, I pronounce it as "she."

Works for me.

Although a tiny thing, this neologism feels like a small victory in the lost war of gender-correct language.

Pax tecum


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