Should English Change Its System of Pronouns?

In a recent column, the eminent scholar John McWhorter celebrates a linguistic revolution in the offing. But at what cost, and to whom?

October 8, 2021 | Philologos
About the author: Philologos, the renowned Jewish-language columnist, appears twice a month in Mosaic. Questions for him may be sent to his email address by clicking here.

Josie Elias/shutterstock.

The linguist John McWhorter, a frequent contributor to the New York Times opinion pages, reports with pride in his September 25 column that he was finally able, as he puts it, after “a bit of conscious effort,” to say in regard to someone whose biological sex was not in doubt, “It’s their turn to use the kite, don’t you think?” Most of us, of course, would have said “her turn” if referring to a girl or “his turn” if referring to a boy.

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