Thursday, July 08, 2010


From the never-ending battle to deal with the gender bias inherent in the English language, here's one I've never noticed before: hir. This, it appears from context, is a shorthand form of him or her.

(Unsurprisingly, I saw this on Shakesville (via PZ).)

Visceral reaction: Eh. I applaud the intent, and I guess it works okay in print, but if it's read out loud, is it pronounced "heer" or "hire" or something, so it doesn't sound like "her?" It's better than they, but that's about all I can say in its defense.

I won't get mad about it in very informal writing, like a quick email or a tweet. As with s/he, I can understand the instinct (laziness + a wish not to offend), but on anything more considered -- including blog posts -- I wouldn't use it, and I don't like to see it.

I'll stick with typing out him or her, and if there get to be too many of those, I'll recast the sentence, or change to second person, or something.

And get the hell off my lawn.

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