‘The singular pronoun “they” – often used by people who identify as gender non-binary – has been named word of the decade by US linguists.
It was chosen by a panel of language experts during an annual poll by the American Dialect Society in New Orleans, where voters also selected “(my) pronouns” – such as she/her, he/him or they/them – as their word of the year for 2019.
Ben Zimmer, chair of its new words committee said: “When a basic part of speech like the pronoun becomes a vital indicator of social trends, linguists pay attention.
“The selection of ‘(my) pronouns’ as Word of the Year speaks to how the personal expression of gender identity has become an increasing part of our shared discourse.
“That trend is also reflected in singular ‘they’ being chosen as word of the decade, with a growing recognition of the use of they for those whose identities don’t conform to the binary of he and she”.’