Pronoun Practice

As I’ve mentioned earlier, myr s is non-binary, and by request I’ve not talked much about their journey. The happiness I’m witnessing as we travel with them really does warm the heart.

The biggest problem has been training myself to use the right pronouns, in particular when talking to other people about them. I don’t need correcting often, and I usually catch myself first, with the interesting side effect of my being a lot more deliberate about how I talk to or about anyone.

In practice it means I’m using much more gender-neutral terms for everyone. I’m starting to use they and them when describing people in general, and use ‘folks’ instead of ‘guys’ as often as I remember. More effectively though I’ve started just using people’s names as interchangeably as general pronouns in that deliberate attribution of things and actions to specific individuals.

Its an exercise in relearning the use of language, but its in service of not being unkind, of accepting, and that’s never a bad thing.

Things the cub Says: Polygaming

I love language, and especially the intricate dances we can make it do to play with nuance and imagery. My favourite forms of literary criticism when studying English were Structuralism and Semiotics – and I make no apologies for how these approaches inform my appreciation both of the written and spoken word around me.

As an example – how many of you have looked at this blog entry’s title and assumed that this will be an item about the effects of our polya lives on a youngster? Sorry to disappoint (I lie, I hope you’re now questioning your assumptions) but this is about language.

You see, the cub has an enquiring mind and picks up concepts extremely rapidly. In this instance his Spanish teacher introduced him to the word polyglot – someone who speaks many languages and this has obviously resonated.

He proudly announced the other day that he is a polygamer – and when asked to elaborate he described his reasoning as follows:

He doesn’t play games on only one platform, enjoys playing many different games, and in those games where there are different characters, he enjoys trying out the different characters to see how differently they play. Therefore as someone who enjoys many different ways of playing games, he is a polygamer.

I suppose if I was being pedantic and insisting on a purely Greek root it should be polypaichnídi or polyagon but that introduces far too many new angles of enquiry. Sorry, not sorry.

It amused me

Language Observations

A bit of a whimsical set of thoughts this time on something we noticed while out in Florida. I thought at first that it was merely to do with being at Disney, but I observed it away from the resorts as well: that the Americans we met seemed to be censoring their own swearing.

I always though it was a feature of television shows that people cut off phrase or substituted words – certainly we stood out as moderately sweary Brits, even if the people around us didn’t quite understand what we were saying, and that we tried not to actually mentally scar any children.

But no, a man who got water down his neck resorted to “sonofa-” and I heard any number of variations of “holy moly”, “darn it”, “gosh”, and even “heck”.

Were all these people starring in their own shows, as we all are prone to believe? There didn’t seem to be any forcing of language or phrases, as I might expect of someone trying to change the sentence mid-flow.

It did make me appreciate just how sweary British daily life is that I’m more taken aback by a lack of swearing than its presence. But hey, I work with the public, so make of that what you will.