Washington: After Merriam-Webster dictionary declared ‘they’ as the word of the year, now US linguists too chose the non-binary gender pronoun as their ‘Word of the Decade’.
The American Dialect society came to this conclusion by recognizing the growing use of third-person plural pronouns as a singular form to refer to people who identify their gender as neither entirely male nor entirely female.
The decision was made at an annual poll on Friday, where voters also selected “(my) pronouns” – such as she/her, he/him or they/them – as their word of the year for 2019.
“When a basic part of speech like pronouns 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” chair of the American Dialect Society’s new words committee Ben Zimmer said.
One of the reasons for the popularity of this word can be due to the fact that a high-profile celebrities came out as non-binary figures last year. In September 2019, Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter Sam Smith announced their decision to use gender neutral pronouns.
Other words on the list for word of the decade included ‘meme’ which came in second place, followed by ‘climate’, #BlackLivesMatter, ‘woke and ‘MeToo.’
Meanwhile, ‘Quid pro quo’ was named political word of the year, in regard to the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry, while ‘hot girl summer’ was nominated for slang word of the year.