in which I post ALL the writing links!

Seriously, I’ve got a lot of these piled up.

First: genarti! Congratulations! You have won the “ARC and Desk Delivery Day” giveaway. Email me your address (marie dot brennan at gmail dot com), and I’ll get that on its way to you.

Second, you have a chance to win a complete set of the Onyx Court books by bidding in Brenda Novak’s 2011 Auction, raising money for diabetes research. That runs until the end of the month, so you have about twelve days left to bid. (The prize will ship in summer, when I receive my author copies of With Fate Conspire, or I can arrange to send the first three earlier if desired.) Also, there are lots of other awesome things on offer there, so go browse.

Third, you also have until the end of the month to buy one or more of my stories from AnthologyBuilder, and get a dollar off the cover price. (Fuller details here.)

Fourth, some of you may be interested in , a Yuletide-style fandom exchange for Asian fandoms (e.g. Japanese anime, Bollywood, Hong Kong action flicks, etc). Nominations are open until the 25th, and I’m vaguely tempted to participate; I had fun writing my K-20 story for Yuletide last year. I’m waiting to see how many of the nominated sources I know well enough to write, though, since a lot of the current ones are totally unknown to me.

Fifth, for the language wonks reading this, “Singular ‘they’ and the many reasons why it’s correct.” I am a big proponent of “they” as a gender-neutral singular third-person pronoun, largely because it’s one we’ve been using for that exact purpose for centuries now, and it’s a lot more graceful than “he or she” and similar constructions. Mind you, I do find it unsatisfactory for referring to a specific individual who doesn’t fit into standard gender categories; for whatever reason, in those cases my brain seizes up on the apparent plural meaning of the word. (And it’s politer anyway to use whatever pronoun such a person prefers, though that can be hard to do — and the pragmatist in me does wish we could settle on a single alternative, rather than the motley assortment currently in use.) But for sentences like “everyone took out their books,” or referring to somebody whose gender identification is unknown (frex, somebody you only know online), I like “they.” We’re already using it; I think grammar pedants should accept it.

That’s enough for now, I suppose. There may be other link salad-style posts in the future, though; Firefox’s new tab-grouping setup has really encouraged my tendency to hoard these things. :-/

0 Responses to “in which I post ALL the writing links!”

  1. genarti

    Huzzah, and email sent!

    Also, ooh, that’s a fascinating article. I absolutely agree about “they” as a useful gender-neutral singular pronoun, which is a thing that English otherwise unsatisfyingly lacks. (Although I also agree that sometimes my brain gets tripped up by the plural meaning, and I feel awkward using it.) I do wish there were a better one that everyone agreed upon and that didn’t also have the third person plural meaning, but so it goes. I don’t mind zie and similar, and absolutely if someone used it as self-identification I’d follow zir wishes — although I typed “their wishes” there the first time, which shows what my subconscious defaults to — but it feels very self-consciously neologic and artificial to me as general use.

    • Marie Brennan

      Yeah, we can accept a new verb into our lexicon pretty easily, but a pronoun is really, really hard.

      . . . man, now I want to conduct a linguistic/psych experiment to see which is more easily adopted: a neologism, or “thou/thee/thy” as third-person instead of second. After all, if we can accept a plural pronoun as somewhat singular, can we switch person the same way? (It would confuse people reading old texts, if it became common usage — but hell, most people already misunderstand the usage of “thou” anyway.)

  2. coraa

    I agree; I think singular ‘they’ serves a useful function, and I’m glad to be able to use it when writing technical manuals. (My last boss frowned on it, and so I had to do a lot of awkwardly circuitous writing; I was delighted that my current boss is cool with it. It’s nice to be able to just say, “If a user doesn’t have an account, they can log in using their Windows credentials” or whatever.)

  3. Marie Brennan

    Rephrasing is also good, yes. And yes, I likewise tend to do my best to avoid using a pronoun in cases where the individual doesn’t identify as “him” or “her,” because that’s actually easier to get my brain to do than to use a neologism. It’s damned hard to integrate something like that into daily language use; on the level of an individual speaker it’s possible, but to get an entire society to use it? That’s swimming against a very strong current.

  4. akashiver

    Great article – though it makes my grading harder.

  5. mq_musings

    I read somewhere that they as a pronoun is a matter of fashion trends in word usage – language passes in and out of style. The author’s assertion was that once upon a time, they was the pronoun always used if gender was unknown, because screwing up the gender of a subject was a huge taboo. Then it became more common for people to want to agree quantity, and the style change.

    I’m a huge believer in neutral ‘they’ and a proponent of its usage. If enough of us insist on using it, the rule will change back. 🙂

    • Marie Brennan

      I’m not enough of a historical linguist to know if that’s the case, but certainly language changes. The rule against “they,” like the rule against split infinitives or ending a sentence with a preposition, has more to do with the determination of grammarians to impose rules on English than the way people actually use the language.

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