Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A universal pronoun?

In the olden days, everyone was either a him or a her.  If you were something else, you hid that.  But times have changed – a bit – and more and more people are breaking out of the old, societal boxes they had been placed in.  This has led to people wanting new pronouns.  My personal opinion is that no matter what stand you take on this issue, some will call you a slave to the status quo, while others will claim you are using language to promote radical ideas. 

I’m not here to promote or condemn using per, ve, zie, or whatever.  I’m just pointing out that the matter is only going to get more complicated.  A century from now – thanks to genetic engineering and nanorobotics – humans will be able to modify their bodies in ways we can barely imagine.  Some will modify themselves so that they can live on the surface of Mars without needing a spacesuit, some will upload their consciousness to a virtual world, some will form hive minds with other people, or even AIs.  Will all these groups earn unique pronouns?  Will you say something about a glathnex, and someone will ask, “Are those the walrus people?” “No, the pronoun for the walrus people is glathnox.  Glathnex refers to the lesbian hive mind.”

Instead of creating a pronoun for every subcategory of human, could we just use one for everyone?  After some thought I came up with huen, which is short for human entity, be that a single, physical body, a virtual body, or a hive mind.  But won’t that make things less informative, you ask?  Well then, you could just use the huen’s name: Joe, Blathen417, Ϣ.

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