Well said. Now, excuse me while I try to figure out if the word is pronounced wimIXn, wimskin, or wimksin. lol.

You make an excellent point about languages. They tend the follow their own internal structures (recognized or not by prescriptive grammarians) and aren’t much subject to intentional efforts to change them — not if the changes push against those structures.

One of the reasons the gender-neutral they/them worked out so well is that whether most of us realized it or not, we were already using it all the time in the singular, indefinite sense. So changing to sometimes using it in the definite, but gender-neutral sense wasn’t a huge change, and that change doesn’t push back in any major way against how English works.

As a speaker of Romance languages, by the way, the need for a gender-neutral version of Latin has always puzzled me. I already receive Latina as feminine, Latino as masculine, and Latin as gender neutral. So I’m not quite sure why Latine is necessary. (And Latinx is hard to pronounce, so … you know.)

When we work on new vocabulary to help advance social justice, perhaps we could try involving linguists in the conversation. They could help us produce changes that work with a language’s natural structure, that would thus be more likely to be adapted by a bulk of native speakers.

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Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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