Linguistics Scholar Dennis Baron Looks at History of Pronoun Use 'Beyond He and She'

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Discussions about gender neutral pronouns may seem new, but according to linguistics scholar Dennis Baron, they started at least 200 years ago. In his book "What's Your Pronoun: Beyond He & She," Baron documents this history, including a number of terms such as "xe," zie," and "hir," coined by various amateurs and experts looking to solve the pronoun problem. He also notes that Shakespeare, Chaucer and Jane Austen were all known to liberally use the singular pronoun "they" in their time. Baron joins us in studio to break down the debate over nonbinary pronouns and why we shouldn't fear the prospect of change.


Dennis Baron, author, "What's Your Pronoun: Beyond He & She"; professor emeritus of English and linguistics, University of Illinois