It’s like his snoring got so bad that his wife left him and now he’s just forever alone with his extra-strength Breathe Right strips
im laughign remember when i made this post
[image description: white background with the following text:
I’m with someone right now who prefers gender neutral pronouns.
When I type I can use the correct pronouns no problem, but when I talk about them I always tend to revert back to their biological sex pronoun by accident.
I’m so ashamed of myself. I just can’t get it right. What’s wrong with me?
I don’t understand why it’s so much harder for me to get used to speaking-wise rather than typing.. I’m worried that when we meet I won’t use the right pronoun and they’ll hate me for it.
I don’t know what to do.
If anyone wants to reblog this with advice on getting pronouns right, you’re more than welcome…]
I’m a genderqueer linguist and ESL teacher. So here’s what’s up and what you do about it. Be prepared for a dissertation.
*edit: I just realized that OP is romantically involved with a genderqueer person. I’m still keeping this post speaking about friendship because it applies to a lot more people, and I want everyone to have something to take away from this. On with the lesson!
1. ACCEPT THAT IT IS GOING TO BE HARD! There are two basic types of words in a language: content words and function words. Content words are the Yu-Gi-Oh cards of a language in that we can trade them freely between languages. These are the words that have a very clear meaning, such as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. It’s easy to learn a new content word!
Let’s test this out. I’m going to teach you a new content word and you make a sentence with it out loud. That word is petaQ (pronounced pet-ack)- a Klingon insult that means ‘garbage’. Don’t worry about using it right, just say a sentence using the word petaQ aloud.
Now, you might not be a Trekkie, but chances are you were easily able to make a sentence using the word petaQ. So what gives?
Unfortunately, pronouns are function words. This means that they act like the gears in the engine of language. While they can and do change, it’s much more difficult for you to up and decide to adopt a new one.
The problem with personal pronouns in English is that they are function words that do have aspects of content words. They have a meaning to attach to them… we use ‘he’ for males, and ‘she’ for females… but we don’t have a general pronoun for gender variant people!
Unfortunately, these hybrid words are more function words than content words, so we can’t just up and learn new ones.
So what can we do?
2. Pledge to be a language learner. Just as a prospective Klingon speaker needs to buy a book and study, you will need to study pronoun use.
First, go to google and search “ESL personal pronouns exercises”. Alternatively, look for printable worksheets. Go in and change all the names to that of your friend, and then work on reciting the sentences aloud, dropping in the proper pronouns. You’re gonna have to think at first, but the goal is to get to the point where you can say it as fluidly and effortlessly as you can. Consider the following:
The man left _______ book at home. The woman left ______ book at home. The androgyne left _______ book at home.
The goal is to get to the point where you can say the third sentence as easily as the first one.
3. Level up!
Before you take your pronouns to the streets, you got some practice to do. Get up in front of a mirror each day and tell a short story about your friend in the third person. Imagine you’re introducing them at an award ceremony or describing their appearance to the cops. Whatever floats your boat, but do this as much as possible. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip on pronouns. Just keep talking.
If you can, record yourself doing this for the first time and again in two weeks. Count your errors and hesitations. If they are going down, this is working for you.
4. You are a great friend.
Yeah, you slip up and feel horrible about it. Unfortunately, for various reasons beyond your control (such as this toxic binary society as well as your scumbag brain that doesn’t like new function words) you WILL make mistakes. This doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad ally.
I’m taking off my linguist hat and putting on my genderqueer one. When I came out, many people said they accepted me but did not even bother to learn or use singular specific they. They blithely continued to use the pronouns for the gender I was assigned at birth, even though I would prefer they used the opposite gender pronouns if they couldn’t use neutral ones. When trying to get people to use my preferred name is such a battle, I found pronoun preference to be nothing more than a no-win scenario.
So when someone tries to use my pronouns, even if they fuck up a little or a lot?
I love them. I love them so much.
5. The final word on safety.
When your spidey sense is tingling, do what you have to do and say what you have to say to protect the safety of both yourself and your friend. If I were walking across the street with my best friend and I saw a taxi careening towards us, you bet I’d push them aside. I generally wouldn’t strike a friend, but I would to avoid the runaway cab.
The same goes with language. HOWEVER, if you choose to do this, talk to your friend later about it. Give them/em/hir a hug and apologize. Your friend may downplay this… ‘oh, it’s okay…’ But inside? They will be so touched that you are almost as conscious of this as they are.
Good luck, and keep me posted!
WHY WAS THIS NOT IN THE FINAL CUT.
Or even the Special Editions. This is GREAT.
C3PO YOU FUCKER
I have a new favorite Star Wars moment.
What is this wonderful art!?
new bumper sticker came today