The neutral pronoun ‘they’ has been voted as the Word of the Decade by the American Dialect Society, which is a 131-year old society consisting of linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, educators, and students.
— American Dialect Society (@americandialect) January 4, 2020
Today, ‘they’ is being used by an increasing number of non-binary people, individuals that do not identify themselves as either male or female. Such individuals use the pronoun ‘they’ to refer to themselves rather than using the masculine ‘he’ or feminine ‘she.’
This word beat competition from other words such as climate, emoji, selfie, opioid crisis, meme, #MeToo, and #BlackLivesMatter to win the crown.
Earlier, the Merriam-Websters dictionary had named ‘they’ as the word of the year for 2019.
“When a fundamental part of language like pronouns becomes a vital indicator of trends in society, linguists prick up their ears,” said Ben Zimmer, head of the American Dialect Society, which studies the evolution of language.
He added in a statement that the Society’s selection of “they” was an indication of “how the personal expression of gender identity has become an increasing part of our shared discourse.”
In the past two decades, ‘google’ and ‘web’ were chosen as Words of the Decade for the 2000s and 1990s respectively.
Isn’t this inclusive word ‘they’ a great one to be chosen Word of the Decade? It also demonstrates a definitive shift in the mindset and ideologies of people across the world to become more inclusive.
What are your views on this word? Do let us know your views in the comments section below.