"If you assert that you can fully communicate ideas in emoji, communicate that idea to me using only emoji." Gretchen McCulloh, "Lingthusiam" podcast.
I think I'm going to be quoting this woman a lot.
I had a little more objection to the pronoun discussion about the recent move to allow individuals to elect to have they as a singular pronoun for themselves. Because I have long been irritated that we (supposedly) cannot use they to refer to an individual in such constructions as "All the students can come back and pick up their coats after school," I like the idea of lifting that ridiculous convention. English has used "they, their" in such a sense since the time of Chaucer. It is the forbidding of that that is recent. So if we adopt "they" in the gender-neutral sense for an individual, then I get my wish about the everyday usage of "they" that I have had to work around for years in certain situations if I know someone is going to be sticky about it. 18th and 19th C grammarians - a category that should always arouse your suspicions whenever you read it - thought things weren't smooth enough, consistent enough, and put down various rules, as usual. And as usual, most of those faded away but a few stuck. Such systemetisers often have an OCD, Asperger-y quality about them, trying to make sure they can construct rules that have no leaks and take in every choice. You may reflect on the tax code or highschoolers of my era defining virginity for how well that works.
However, keep that in mind. I'll come back to it.
One James Anderson went completely amok in 1792 , offering up different sets of gendered pronouns for 13 different genders, including male animals alone, female animals alone, inanimate objects alone, animals known to be castrated and meant to be distinguished as such, male and females known to be such but not meant to be separated - what he called the "matrimonial gender"... you can tell he was not worrying about such things as what trans people preferred, but about making obsessive distinctions in grammar.
Because "they" as an individual pronoun will always sound like a plural to me, I do find it mildly irritating. I am also irritated by mandated language change in general. I would rather have it be that if something catches on on its own, that's fine. I imagine the enforced "Ms" just sounds normal to most younger people now, but it still sounds silly and artificial to me. Doesn't matter. My problem. I do dislike bad reasoning, however, and one of the arguments from the 2016 podcast grated on me. The thought was that those who were requesting the pronoun had gone through a great deal of thought and conflict about it, while for us as individuals it's a minor change. The imbalance of those two were an argument. Having listened to a mother of a fifteen-year old who wanted to be seen as one type of nonbinary "sometimes" and another type "sometimes," all this springing up in the last four months and according to mom and sister, tracking her menstrual cycle exactly, I contest that strongly. Admittedly, that is the worst example I encountered, but there are others.
I later relented and thought that what the linguist said probably did look pretty true in 2016, and only lately have we had this run on people impulsively wanting everyone else to adjust to them - and then sometimes changing what they want a few months later. Also, we are discovering the same sort of obsessiveness we saw in the 19th C grammarians among the multiplying categories of nonbinaries.I dislike them both for the same reason. I don't see the value-added.