LETTERS: Evolution of mother tongue

LETTERS: Evolution of mother tongue

Editor: A lot of rules about English have been changed, challenged and sloppified…


In my lifetime in North America, now 77 years, I have watch the evolution of the English language, both written and spoken.

A lot of rules about English have been changed, challenged and sloppified during this period.

Professor Jordan Peterson, clinical psychologist, and his challengers first came to my attention months ago in their dispute over gender neutrality, particularly in the use of personal pronouns: he, she; him, her; they, them; his, her, their.

In one respect, I fully support the opinion of Peterson that the plural – they, them, their – should not be introduced into common usage just to assuage the sensitivity of female humans who do not wish to be subsumed under the male pronoun, although this has a long history in the language.

Some cultures have partly or fully solved the gender difference problem in language. Example, German: “Das Kind” (neuter); Russian: “Comrade” (in use for a century).

By contrast, an English invention, decades old, is “Ms.” ending with a period, although it is not an abbreviation of any word or title that historically existed.

My solution to the English language gender neutrality is to use “he/she, him/her, and his/hers.” It fits all people, even those of indeterminate gender.

Charles Dubois, White Rock