Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more.
Hosted by Larry Mantle
Airs Weekdays 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

She, He, They… And More! The History Of Pronouns




Gender neutral toilets are seen inside the Queer Wellness Centre (QWC) in Johannesburg, on March 11, 2020, Africa's first LGBTI+ health clinic that provides 'stigma-free' sexual and mental health services.
Gender neutral toilets are seen inside the Queer Wellness Centre (QWC) in Johannesburg, on March 11, 2020, Africa's first LGBTI+ health clinic that provides 'stigma-free' sexual and mental health services.
MICHELE SPATARI/AFP via Getty Images

Listen to story

30:40
Download this story 14MB

What are your pronouns?

That question is being asked at schools, workplaces, prisons and more, and has also led to the development of new policies. And by now, you might have seen he/him, she/hers or they/them on nametags, email signatures and Twitter profiles, but when did it all begin?

That’s one of the many topics explored by Dennis Baron’s new book called “What’s Your Pronoun? Beyond He and She” where he dives into the history of pronouns. 

Based on forty years of empirical research, linguist and author Baron digs into the history of gender-neutral and non-binary pronouns, which he says is nothing new. In fact, the singular “they” was used by Shakespeare and Jane Austen.

Larry is joined by Dennis Baron to talk about his new book and the cultural conversation around pronouns.

Guest:

Dennis Baron, author of the new book, “What's Your Pronoun? Beyond He and She” (W.W. Norton; 2020); professor emeritus of English and linguistics at the University of Illinois