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  1. Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Thai
      • Home Country:
      • Thailand
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 4

    Re: "Hu," from "human," as a pronoun

    What's wrong with the use of "one", "one's self" or "ones"? It has been used abundantly in the past--gender neutral and grammatically correct....

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552

    Re: "Hu," from "human," as a pronoun

    Well, "one" is old-fashioned, and sounds to most people very pretentious -- in fact, it is sometimes used as a snobby and pretentious way of saying "I", as in: "One buys one's pâté de fois gras at Fortnum and Mason's".

    This thread is a very old thread, but if I had been posting at the time, I would have objected on the grounds that you cannot force language to change in this way, any more than you can stop language changing in ways you don't like. We say "flu" instead of "influenza" not because somebody decreed it should be so, but because people independently of each other found it easier to say -- and flu is a very common ailment, so the shortened version turned out to be very useful. Other words may be coined to describe new things, such as "blog" for an online diary, but not because somebody somewhere declared that online diaries would henceforth be known as "blogs" -- it simply caught on.

    I don't perceive a need for a completely new personal pronoun, and I don't think most people do either, which is why it's unlikely to catch on. This is, after all, one of the most basic units of language, part of the "nuts and bolts" if you like, and members of the general public don't take kindly to having the nuts and bolts of their language dictated from on high. Not to mention the inconvenience and expense of having to rewrite grammar books for native speakers and learners in virtually every single country of the world.

    Above all, though, there are far more elegant ways of avoiding the generic "he". Often the simplest method is to use the plural: instead of "A good teacher always does his research", say, "Good teachers always do their research", and the problem is neatly solved.

    In the few cases where the singular is required, as in for example "The successful candidate will be expected to perform his tasks well", you may be able to simply omit the pronoun -- " perform tasks well" -- use the pronoun "they" with a singular meaning -- "The successful candidate will be expected to perform their tasks well" -- fall back once in a while on the old he/she solution, or completely recast the sentence -- "You will be expected to perform your tasks well".

    All of these techniques will seem perfectly natural to any speaker of English, with the exception of "he/she", although it's so common it would pass without comment. But saying " perform one's tasks well" will simply invite derision, and " perform hus tasks well" will most likely be interpreted as a typographical error. Considering the fact that on an English language keyboard the U and I keys are right next to each other, it will look like a misprinted "his".

  3. hinomura's Avatar

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 61

    Re: "Hu," from "human," as a pronoun

    It's too. . . . . . . . . .Chinese.

    "Van" is acceptable because of the Dutch influence and "van" functions pretty well as a noun.

    You do know that English is resistant to loan words for pronouns? Hmmmmm?

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