Darwin-L Message Log 3:89 (November 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<3:89>From mayerg@cs.uwp.edu  Mon Nov 22 11:47:50 1993

Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1993 11:47:56 -0600 (CST)
From: Gregory Mayer <mayerg@cs.uwp.edu>
Subject: Re: Momentum and other physical metaphors in history
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

> One that can be followed now is the
> drift towards using the plural "they" or "their" in the predicate of
> a sentence with a singular neuter subject: "everyone"; "each" and so
> on. The shift is a response to not depending on a masculine singular
> pronoun--and avoiding the clumsy his/her etc.

	I frequently use the "they/their" construction when referring to a
neuter singular subject.  I don't believe this is a recent development to
avoid the clumsy his/her, though.  My recollection is that this has been a
common form for many years where I grew up (New York).  Another "gap", the
lack of a distinct second person plural, has led to the usage in New York
of "yous" (often spelled "youse") and "you guys" (similar to Southern "you
all") when speaking to a group (of either or both sexes).
	Are these gaps what linguists call "imbalances" (a term used by
some in previous postings)?

Gregory C. Mayer

Your Amazon purchases help support this website. Thank you!

© RJO 1995–2016