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What's Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She
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What's Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  285 ratings  ·  82 reviews
Like trigger warnings and gender-neutral bathrooms, pronouns are sparking a national debate, prompting new policies in schools, workplaces, even prisons, about what pronouns to use. Colleges ask students to declare their pronouns along with their majors; corporate conferences print name tags with space to add pronouns; email signatures sport pronouns along with names and t ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Liveright
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Ashley Phelps All words were made at some point and the list of words always grows hence the new dictionaries. What a rude and ignorant thing to say. Yes you need t…moreAll words were made at some point and the list of words always grows hence the new dictionaries. What a rude and ignorant thing to say. Yes you need to call people by the correct thing, its the human thing to do.(less)

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Mar 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Lately we've been hearing a lot about pronouns and are even asked on some forms which pronouns we use for ourselves. There seem to be a lot of "new" pronouns that people use for themselves. I thought this was a recent thing, as society becomes more aware of nonbinary gender and ungendered people and we know that, as the author reminds us, "using appropriate pronouns has a positive affect on mental health".

It came as a surprise to me to learn that people have been trying to get a genderless third
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, audio
This is exactly the kind of niche, nerdy history that I enjoy. It was fascinating to hear how English speakers and linguists have lamented the lack of a gender neutral personal singular pronoun for hundreds of years... "a missing word." It is equally interesting to see that speakers have consistently come back to "they" to serve this function since the 1300s. I appreciated Baron's breakdown of why, from a purely functional perspective, this gap has been one felt in day to day parlance, but also ...more
Apr 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

What's Your Pronoun? discusses something that's on a lot of people's minds, for good or bad: the humble part of speech we call the pronoun. Despite what some idiots protest, everybody uses pronouns all the time: I, you, she, he, they... They're ubiquitous in speech and have been stirring up people's emotions for years, whether it be wanting a neutral indefinite pronoun (for when you don't know the gender of the person you're referring to), or perhaps (like me) want
Bogi Takács
(I read this last year and I'm mystified why it's not in my Goodreads - I'll need to check if I wrote anything about it and if I have it saved elsewhere. I know I linked to it in one of my timeline posts...) ...more
Naomi Ruth
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found this history and politics of pronouns to be super fascinating. I didn't want to put it down. So happy to own it. ...more
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it
As someone who has an English degree (*John Mulaney's voice* yes, you heard me: an English major), I would never think I would listen AND enjoy a book related to linguistics because it was something I struggled A LOT with in college. This is a pretty good book for someone who wants to learn more about the English language throughout the centuries - especially when it comes to the millions of options that exist/existed and are related to gender pronouns. ...more
An excellent and enlightening book if you are interested in the details and nuances of language. I only gave it three stars because it really would have benefited from tighter editing.
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is very fun! It’s a nerdy book by a real grammar nerd about grammar history, while also being a great pro-queer romp. If you ever want the confidence to defend singular they, go ahead and read this book. He delves into made up pronouns as well, and offers a wide range of options, as well as their histories. Oh and also! Gets into the misogynistic past of grammar! What fun :)
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such an interesting book. This book covers a lot. From the use of "generic he" to introducing "she/her" to the use of not specific gender pronouns.
It was fascinating and I could understand more on the role of pronouns for people.
Patrick Pilz
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I actually liked this book. As a German born immigrant to the United States, I had my troubles with the missing word, actually referring to people with unknown gender as 'it'. Boy, did I ruffled some feathers....

Interesting enough though, the struggle for the third person singular gender neutral pronoun for the English language has ensued pretty much 1,000 years ago. More than 200 attempts have been made, and famous authors like Virginia Wolfe, Charles Dickens and others took their crack at it.

Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
My expectations for this book were that it would be focused on the LGBTQ movement currently going on and the related need for a new genderless personal pronoun. This topic is mentioned, but it is much more of a linguistic look at the long history of the search for a third-person singular pronoun. Luckily for me, this is still a topic of interest as an editor. My colleagues and I have had long discussions about using “they” additionally as a third-person singular pronoun. It seems that the writer ...more
Daniel Farabaugh
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a really good book. The only part that dragged a little was the section on the history of created pronouns because ti got a little repetitive. The book does an great job of showing that, in spite of the protestations of many conservatives and grammarians, not gendered pronouns have a very log history and that we use them all the time. It also highlights that, be it for women or transgender people, the issue is not really grammar it is about limiting their rights and acceptance. It reaff ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-reviews
ARC Given by publisher for Honest Review

What's Your Pronoun was an incredibly interesting read! Dennis Baron has done his research and gone far above the average gender studies author. As someone who is trans and well read, I though I was a font of information, but this book really put into perspective how much we have to learn.

Baron goes through different topics like neo-pronouns, the history of the "singular they" and ways to incorporate new pronouns into your life. I was excited to learn beca
Mattie Richards
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Netgalley for sending me an advanced copy!
What's Your Pronoun? is an important look into the long and heavily debated history of third gendered/non gendered pronouns and why they've been important much longer than I expected. Giving a well researched account into both sides of the pronoun argument, Baron gives an excellent view of the importance of non gendered pronouns to readers and the fight they've gone through to be able to use them.
Sep 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5 stars

A very interesting exploration on the linguistics and history of gender neutral pronouns in the English language.
Jonathan Alfaro
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly interesting read that not only makes a case for the contemporary usage of gender neutral pronouns, but delves into the history of the third person similar pronoun and it’s usage in English since and prior to it’s formation.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook via Overdrive prior to a discussion with the author at the KC Library on 2/11/20. Dennis Baron proved himself an engaging speaker and his book presented some surprises which left me both enlightened and intrigued.
Brandon Moskun
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: gay-and-queer
A bit repetitive
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
What's Your Pronoun? by Dennis Baron is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late November.

Personally, I think that pronouns are way interesting and just as useful as learning a name. The chapters looks into topics, such as the questionable concept of using ‘he’ to incorporate everyone in a population or within a constitution (i.e. ‘all men are created equal’), historic disputing court cases, to be referred to formally and informally in the way one prefers, writers generally directing the curve
Lisa Knapp
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it
This is beyond thorough. I feel much more accepting of singular they.
The Resistance Bookclub
*I received an ARC through Netgalley in return for an honest review *
As a linguistics nerd and gender neutral pronoun fan this is a book that I hope will be included in language and gender syllabi in the future.
Dennis Baron gives an exciting insight into the history of neutral pronouns and their significance from the suffrage movement, over general grammar concerns to the growing acceptance of non-binary identities.
There are many historical examples and quotes, although sometimes they seem a bi
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
While this is chock full of fascinating history and fun facts, I wish it were better written--that is, even though it's aimed at the general reader, the repetitive style tended to drive me bonkers. But it's still an invaluable resource and a worthwhile read that even a linguist will enjoy. ...more
I thought this would be way more about current events and the current sociopolitical climate than it ended up being. It was written by a linguistics professor, and the book was a study on the issue that the English language is missing a gender-neutral singular pronoun. Baron examines the history of how this has been an issue for centuries, and that where originally its impact was primarily on the rights of women, the impact today is now primarily on the rights of nonbinary individuals. He argues ...more
At a glance, you think the focus of this book is going to be about the coining of new words for use by the LGBTQ+ community, but that isn't really correct. Yes, one chapter does deal with new pronouns, and another about the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. However, this entertaining little book explains much more than that. The English language, you see, has a missing word: basically, the singular of the word they. Other languages both do and do not have this problem. First, in case you weren't aw ...more
Karen Chung
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The topic of singular "they" had come up in Freshman English class, and when I asked my Taiwanese students if they thought it would be a good topic for a future Chinese-language article, they overwhelmingly said yes.

Some months later, I listened to an interview of the author of this book, Dennis Baron, on the podcast "Talk the Talk" (now called "Because Language").

I have now gotten around to writing the piece, and remembering the interview, I relistened to the podcast, and also got a Kindle ed
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What’s Your Pronoun is the story of the role of pronouns own grammar and society. Using the right pronoun can be challenging and is important. At the very least using the wrong pronoun can mislead or or offend. But simply if all you see to do is to apply rules to avoid offense, you’ll likely fail more often than you’d like. Baron’s book gives you the tools to go deeper and understand the evolution or pronoun usage in the English Language, so that you can better understand why pronouns are import ...more
Tangled in Text
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an overload of history I was not expecting. I figured I'd be introduced to a few new pronouns and why we need to be more inclusive, but this was an entire history of all pronouns throughout time and why they are so important to everyone. I was reading Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez at the same time as this book and they had a lot of similarities although different angles.

This book made me love words more but also hate them for how they can both heal and tear down so easily. Se
Stephanie Lynn
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What’s Your Pronoun? is a history lesson in the evolution of, you guessed it, pronouns. What many of us don’t know, what I didn’t know until reading this book, is that coming up with gender-neutral pronoun has been a source of struggle for grammarians for centuries. That’s right. For hundreds of years, people have been sitting around trying to think up a pronoun independent of gender, and it’s often seen as a great failing of the English language that we don’t have one. Because guess what? Such ...more
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
"What's Your Pronoun?" by Dennis Baron is a fascinating read on the topic of pronouns for identity.

At the heart of the book is the discussion of what specific pronouns actually mean. While some argue that it's "political correctness gone too far", for others it is a way to navigate the world of non-gender specific identification.

Singer Sam Smith recently announced that they would like to be referred to with the pronouns "they/them". This use of pronouns has long been used and debated for a long
Jennifer Alm
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm only halfway through this so far and I'm loving it! I expected some discussion of respecting trans & non-binary people as well as some discussion of singular 'they' but what I didn't expect were history lessons back HUNDREDS of years. The impact of this language gap is so illuminating, especially for me in the period of suffrage.

So far there are about 5 quotes I need to make note of and a sense that the pronoun of men can only be entirley and non-discriminatorily inclusive when men are.

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