From: Felipe Contreras <email@example.com> To: Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Derrick Stolee <email@example.com>, Derrick Stolee <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: RE: [PATCH 1/4] Documentation: use singular they when appropriate Date: Mon, 07 Jun 2021 16:36:53 -0500 [thread overview] Message-ID: <email@example.com> (raw) In-Reply-To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget wrote: > From: Derrick Stolee <email@example.com> > --- a/Documentation/SubmittingPatches > +++ b/Documentation/SubmittingPatches > @@ -373,7 +373,7 @@ If you like, you can put extra tags at the end: > . `Acked-by:` says that the person who is more familiar with the area > the patch attempts to modify liked the patch. > . `Reviewed-by:`, unlike the other tags, can only be offered by the > - reviewer and means that she is completely satisfied that the patch > + reviewer and means that they are completely satisfied that the patch This sounds completely alien to me. Granted, I'm not a native English speaker, but aren't you supposed to be trying to be inclusive? It took me a considerable amount of time to train my mind to think in English, and now I don't have to think in Spanish, but "he" is "él", "she" is "ella", and "they" is "ellos", or "ellas". And that has been more than enough to read 99.9% of documents I encounter without problems. And now you come out of the blue with a pronoun that doesn't match any of my mental models. There's many Spanish speakers out there, but this probably extends to Italians, French, and all the other Latin-based languages. But to be honest I read a lot of English, and I virtually never encounter this usage. And at least 58% of the Usage Panel of The American Heritage Dictionary  agrees with me. I have read Steven Pinker's (a renowned linguist) style manual: The Sense of Style. He specifically mentions singular "they", and he explains the cases where it makes sense, and where it doesn't. It is not so straight-forward, and to show why, here's an example: A contemporary example with an unambiguous female referent comes from a spoken interview with Sean Ono Lennon in which he specified the kind of person he was seeking as a romantic partner: “Any girl who is interested must simply be born female and between the ages of 18 and 45. They must have an IQ above 130 and they must be honest.” In this case "they" is grammatically singular, yes, but it is *psychologically* plural, since the person is picked from a pool. I don't know how a native speaker parses this "they", but as a Spanish speaker I cannot leave it unspecified. "They must" translates to "deben", which is plural, if it was singular it would be "debe", which in English would be "she must". I have read many instances where English speakers argue it's a singular "they" but to me it's not. According to Steven Pinker it's because it's psychologically plural. Pinker uses singular "they" very occasionally, and only with semantically plural antecedents, the rest of the times he alternates between he and she freely. And I try to do so as well. This is his conclusion in his style manual: Because of these complexities, writers always have to consider the full inventory of devices that the English language makes available to convey generic information, each imperfect for a different reason: he, she, he or she, they, a plural antecedent, replacing the pronoun, and who knows, perhaps someday even using thon. For some purists, these complexities provide an excuse to dismiss all concerns with gender inclusiveness and stick with the flawed option of he. Gelernter complains, “Why should I worry about feminist ideology while I write? . . . Writing is a tricky business that requires one’s whole concentration.” But the reaction is disingenuous. Every sentence requires a writer to grapple with tradeoffs between clarity, concision, tone, cadence, accuracy, and other values. Why should the value of not excluding women be the only one whose weight is set to zero? He does however, provide tips to avoid some hurdles, one is to express quantified descriptions as plural, so we would have: `Reviewed-by:`, unlike the other tags, can only be offered by the reviewers and means that they are completely satisfied that the patch is ready for application. It is usually offered only after a detailed review. That reads perfectly fine to me. > --- a/Documentation/git-push.txt > +++ b/Documentation/git-push.txt > @@ -244,8 +244,8 @@ Imagine that you have to rebase what you have already published. > You will have to bypass the "must fast-forward" rule in order to > replace the history you originally published with the rebased history. > If somebody else built on top of your original history while you are > -rebasing, the tip of the branch at the remote may advance with her > -commit, and blindly pushing with `--force` will lose her work. > +rebasing, the tip of the branch at the remote may advance with their > +commit, and blindly pushing with `--force` will lose their work. This one does read correctly to me, and is in fact better than "she". And it is because "somebody" is semantically plural: he or she comes from a pool of people. As stated above, writing is a tricky business, you can't just s/s?he/they/. Not even renowned linguists dare to prescribe point-blank rules like you are trying to do. This is part of Usage Note on "singular they" from The American Heritage Dictionary: Resistance remains strongest when the sentence refers to a specific individual whose gender is unknown, rather than to a generic individual representative of anyone: in our 2015 survey, 58 percent of the Panel found We thank the anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments unacceptable. A sentence with a generic antecedent, A person at that level should not have to keep track of the hours they put in, was rejected by 48 percent (a substantial change from our 1996 survey, in which 80 percent rejected this same sentence). As for the use of they with antecedents such as anyone and everyone, pronouns that are grammatically singular but carry a plural meaning, by 2008, a majority of the Panel accepted such sentences as If anyone calls, tell them I can’t come to the phone (56 percent) and Everyone returned to their seats (59 percent). I do not think the Git project should jump into these muddy waters. Cheers.  https://ahdictionary.tumblr.com/post/147597257733/updated-usage-note-they -- Felipe Contreras
next prev parent reply other threads:[~2021-06-07 21:38 UTC|newest] Thread overview: 124+ messages / expand[flat|nested] mbox.gz Atom feed top 2021-06-07 16:57 [PATCH 0/4] Use singular "they" " Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget 2021-06-07 16:57 ` [PATCH 1/4] Documentation: use singular they " Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget 2021-06-07 17:09 ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 2021-06-07 17:32 ` Derrick Stolee 2021-06-07 17:42 ` Andrei Rybak 2021-06-07 18:21 ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 2021-06-10 7:44 ` Johannes Schindelin 2021-06-10 14:35 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-07 21:36 ` Felipe Contreras [this message] 2021-06-09 18:47 ` Phillip Susi 2021-06-09 20:26 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-11 15:40 ` Phillip Susi 2021-06-11 17:03 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-10 18:30 ` Derrick Stolee 2021-06-11 0:16 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-11 16:00 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-12 14:02 ` Phillip Susi 2021-06-08 1:18 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-08 8:51 ` Kerry, Richard 2021-06-08 23:21 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-09 13:13 ` Derrick Stolee 2021-06-10 3:11 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-08 17:33 ` Emily Shaffer 2021-06-08 18:03 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-09 13:44 ` Kerry, Richard 2021-06-09 17:44 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-25 14:30 ` Kerry, Richard 2021-06-09 4:48 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-10 8:18 ` Johannes Schindelin 2021-06-10 14:42 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-14 22:10 ` Robert Karszniewicz 2021-06-07 16:57 ` [PATCH 2/4] *: use singular they in comments Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget 2021-06-07 17:12 ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 2021-06-07 17:20 ` Derrick Stolee 2021-06-10 8:20 ` Johannes Schindelin 2021-06-07 19:02 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-07 21:44 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-08 17:36 ` Emily Shaffer 2021-06-07 16:57 ` [PATCH 3/4] *: fix typos Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget 2021-06-08 17:37 ` Emily Shaffer 2021-06-10 8:36 ` Johannes Schindelin 2021-06-10 19:53 ` Derrick Stolee 2021-06-11 9:55 ` Johannes Schindelin 2021-06-07 16:57 ` [PATCH 4/4] CodingGuidelines: recommend singular they Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget 2021-06-07 18:31 ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 2021-06-08 1:47 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-07 18:56 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-07 19:05 ` Derrick Stolee 2021-06-08 0:05 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-10 21:34 ` brian m. carlson 2021-06-10 8:39 ` Johannes Schindelin 2021-06-07 20:00 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-09 18:29 ` Phillip Susi 2021-06-09 20:18 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-07 20:20 ` Robert Karszniewicz 2021-06-07 22:18 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-08 7:10 ` Jeff King 2021-06-08 8:11 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-09 13:23 ` Derrick Stolee 2021-06-09 15:20 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-10 22:06 ` brian m. carlson 2021-06-11 16:11 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-08 17:39 ` Emily Shaffer 2021-06-09 4:44 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-09 13:27 ` Derrick Stolee 2021-06-07 20:10 ` [PATCH 0/4] Use singular "they" when appropriate Felipe Contreras 2021-06-09 13:54 ` [PATCH v2 " Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget 2021-06-09 13:54 ` [PATCH v2 1/4] Documentation: use singular they " Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget 2021-06-09 15:33 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-09 13:54 ` [PATCH v2 2/4] *: use singular they in comments Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget 2021-06-09 15:41 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-09 13:54 ` [PATCH v2 3/4] *: fix typos Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget 2021-06-09 13:54 ` [PATCH v2 4/4] CodingGuidelines: recommend singular they Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget 2021-06-09 15:50 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-09 15:44 ` [PATCH v2 0/4] Use singular "they" when appropriate Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 2021-06-09 17:22 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-10 2:03 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-10 2:28 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-10 3:30 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-10 22:32 ` brian m. carlson 2021-06-10 22:58 ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 2021-06-11 16:32 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-11 17:18 ` Derrick Stolee 2021-06-11 20:38 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-13 7:17 ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 2021-06-15 6:02 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-15 13:36 ` Derrick Stolee 2021-06-15 17:03 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-14 0:47 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-15 14:11 ` [PATCH v3 0/4] Avoid gendered pronouns Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget 2021-06-15 14:11 ` [PATCH v3 1/4] doc: avoid using the gender of other people Felipe Contreras via GitGitGadget 2021-06-15 14:11 ` [PATCH v3 2/4] comments: avoid using the gender of our users Felipe Contreras via GitGitGadget 2021-06-15 14:11 ` [PATCH v3 3/4] *: fix typos Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget 2021-06-15 14:11 ` [PATCH v3 4/4] CodingGuidelines: recommend singular they Derrick Stolee via GitGitGadget 2021-06-15 16:19 ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 2021-06-15 17:26 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-16 2:47 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-16 5:06 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-16 9:26 ` Bagas Sanjaya 2021-06-16 17:44 ` Derrick Stolee 2021-06-16 19:54 ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 2021-06-16 23:22 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-17 0:09 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-17 13:22 ` Derrick Stolee 2021-06-17 14:53 ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 2021-06-17 17:06 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-17 15:25 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-18 0:26 ` brian m. carlson 2021-06-18 16:12 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-17 15:23 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-17 15:58 ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 2021-06-18 0:53 ` brian m. carlson 2021-06-18 7:24 ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 2021-06-18 16:40 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-19 7:03 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-28 22:32 ` Junio C Hamano 2021-06-29 1:31 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-29 1:53 ` Derrick Stolee 2021-06-29 12:29 ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 2021-06-17 15:12 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-17 14:46 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-15 17:08 ` Felipe Contreras 2021-06-12 4:40 ` [PATCH 0/4] Use singular "they" when appropriate Bagas Sanjaya 2021-06-12 14:19 ` Phillip Susi
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