Subject: Re: PART TWO: winning industrial-use of lisp: Re: Norvig's latest paper on Lisp From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 19:44:47 GMT Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Tim Bradshaw | I can only speak for myself, but I don't think `they' has died out. That has got to be the only use of a grammatically singular "they" I would approve of. I mean, I really thought the example I gave would be a clear- cut clue of precisely what I was objecting to. In the literature, which I thought it would be clear that I referred with "there is some record", when "they" is used with non-plural referents, it still remains _grammatically_ plural, except with illiterate use of "they" as grammatically singular, which some people have indeed done in the past. | I don't remember it being corrected at that or my subsequent school. As long as you kept writing "they are" instead of "they is", there would be little reason to correct it, unless, of course, the mismatch in number would be garish or highly ambiguous. Suppose you have a co-ed sports team, they get a new player, and the coach says "You must treat them well." | I still use `they' like this, and I don't make any particular attempt to | speak or write in a PC way. I *hate* `he/she', alternating usage or any of | these spurious things, I accept `Ms' but would prefer people - male or female | - to use no title if they care. I often say `England' when I mean `Britain' | which is pretty unfortunate given where I live. | Agreement goes syntactically, not semantically, so I say `they are' not `they | is'. This is similar to German `Sie sind' not `Sie ist' as far as I can see. Precisely. However, what people really mean gets lost when some dirtbag goes bananas over some supposed mistake you never made, and the art of paying attention is considered irrelevant compared to the need to bash people's head in for opinions they do not hold. Trying to rectify such twists of meaning because some idiot imputes a different meaning to you that everybody believe is so fucking annoying I think people like James A. Crippen should be beaten. When they case psychopaths like Thomas Bushnell to crawl out of his cave to abuse me for something that James A. Crippen invented, I get really steamed. However, again, precision in a native language appears to be a lost art. One of the reasons it is so much easier for me than sloppy dimwits to be precise is that I _have_ had to make a conscious effort to learn languages (with lots of conflicting pronunciations and usages from people from all over the world as your English-speaking community, you cannot just mimick whatever people say around you), and I have studied Norwegian equally hard, mostly because the "native dialect" where I grew up is so goddamn ugly. I try not to be sloppy, but when some native jerk uses his own sloppiness to accuse others of same, I think someone should have their head examined. Goddamn losers. | PS. I just had an interesting conversation with my partner who pointed out | another similar usage in my dialect or its ancestors: `it' as a generic third | person pronoun. I use that all the time. Some people _are_ its. | If you call someone's dog `it' then you are being fairly unfriendly - the | polite thing to do is ask them if it's a he or she, and then use that. My queen (the supposed correct term for a female cat) goes by "she" when she is cute and "it" when it does something bad. I do the same for children and people. Unfriendly or not, unintelligent animal behavior should have a class of pronouns all to itself. I'm not kidding. I think it is fully proper to dehumanize idiots by revoking their right to be called by pronouns reserved for thinking people -- using "he" or "she" means you care enough about them as human beings (or pets) to want to know their sex, with "it" you could not care less. -- Guide to non-spammers: If you want to send me a business proposal, please be specific and do not put "business proposal" in the Subject header. If it is urgent, do not use the word "urgent". If you need an immediate answer, give me a reason, do not shout "for your immediate attention". Thank you.