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  • Yo! A new gender-neutral pronoun from, of all places, Baltimore

Comments Jan 9, 2008 11:56 am

Dennis, as always, your posts are most informative and engaging.  One point of note, however, is that first-wave feminism of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony sort was around for at least two decades before 1870, generally seen as arising in 1848 at the Seneca Falls convention.  Most of the women involved in the Woman's Movement were fighting for enfranchisement, equal rights legislation, and education throughout the last half of the 1800's, so the universal male pronoun was, if an issue at all, a secondary or tertiary one. 

Reply to at 11:56 am Jan 9, 2008 10:45 pm

<>Interesting! I wonder if the usage could also be influenced by the Spanish first-person pronoun yo? For English speakers who are exposed to a lot of Spanish but don't know much of the language, "yo" jumps out as being easily recognizable as a pronoun, possibly because it sounds quite like "you" in English. In fact, some English speakers who then use it might even think they're saying "you" rather than "I," making it feel like a natural substitute for any pronoun.

Reply to at 10:45 pm