Page Numbering/Front Matter/Compile

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kewms
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Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:16 am Post

devinganger wrote:And yet many of the same people who refuse to use singular they on the claimed grounds that it sounds wrong happily use both singular and plural you.


I'm sure modern English would "sound wrong" to Elizabethan ears for many reasons. Languages evolve to meet the needs of the people using them.

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Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:57 am Post

kewms wrote:Languages evolve to meet the needs of the people using them.


Sometimes, they're manipulated. My point being that they being both plural and singular sounds weird to a modern English speaker only because we're not used to it, not because it's a unique construct -- we literally do it every day in second person, just not in third person. :) Sometime a while back, a small group of people decided it was wrong for some reason and helped veer us off to where we are today. I see this as just a course correction back to some tiny bit more sanity and pattern-conformity in this wonderfully contentious language of ours.
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Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:31 am Post

I would add that singular they doesn't sound weird at all to a Costal Bend Texan. It may look a little strange written, but only because we're not used to it.
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lunk
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Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:11 pm Post

lunk wrote:Have you read about front matter in the manual?
And about page numbering?
What information is it you don’t find in the manual?

What a wonderful forum, where my asking the OP a few simple question ignites a discussion about gender expressions in language. :D
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Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:15 pm Post

lunk wrote:PS. "...them..."? "...their..."? I’m not of royal birth. I always thought "he" or "she" and "his" or "her" were used for singular persons, but what do I know. Maybe your English lexicon says otherwise.


On the contrary, it was this aside that started the delightful discussion of a) English grammar as formally taught, b) English grammar both historical and in current spoken dialect, and c) formal English grammar as caught in the crossfire of gender politics. Until the last year or so, the singular "they" was not encountered in the past half century except as either a historical anomaly or as an example of dialect.

We're writers. We love words. We'd rather argue about words than tend to dull old tech support questions… :wink:

P.S. I think it's great that Swedish speakers can just accept a newly-coined pronoun and get on with writing. Now you know how to translate it to written English.
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Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:02 pm Post

Silverdragon wrote:Until the last year or so, the singular "they" was not encountered in the past half century except as either a historical anomaly or as an example of dialect.


I would quibble with that a bit. I think it's in the last year or two it's finally becoming mainstream enough, but I remember seeing wars over singular they vs. other neutral pronouns back when I was still active on Usenet in the SF community over 20 years ago. Singular they's return is like the music industry's 10 years of hard work "overnight wonder." :)
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Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:16 pm Post

I concede the point. My painful experience with made-up gender neutral pronouns was from 70's science fiction ("heesh").
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Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:47 pm Post

Silverdragon wrote:I concede the point. My painful experience with made-up gender neutral pronouns was from 70's science fiction ("heesh").


Ooh, yeah. Zie/zim at least follow the current pronoun pattern...
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Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:52 pm Post

Silverdragon wrote:On the contrary, it was this aside that started the delightful discussion of...

I know, but it was my initial questions that made "writer" so upset that he refused to answer me directly and instead used third person ’they’, which caused my response.

In Swedish we have a singular ’you’ (du) and a plural ’you’ (ni) who was also used for singular persons when one was speaking to someone outside the family or close friends. But then there was a swift change in the late 1960s when ’du’ was suddenly accepted throughout society. But we never used plural ’they’ for singular persons, only he or she (han, hon), until a few years ago when ’hen’ was introduced as a non-gender-specific third person. It initially met ridicule but has gradually become more accepted.

Our royalty (especially the king) has by tradition used the plural ’we’ and ’us’ when referring to themselves as singular persons. Never ’I’ and ’me’. And it wouldn’t be polite to officially say ’him’ or ’his’ about the king. (hence my reaction to "writer")
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Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:04 am Post

lunk wrote:In Swedish we have a singular ’you’ (du) and a plural ’you’ (ni) who was also used for singular persons when one was speaking to someone outside the family or close friends. But then there was a swift change in the late 1960s when ’du’ was suddenly accepted throughout society. But we never used plural ’they’ for singular persons, only he or she (han, hon), until a few years ago when ’hen’ was introduced as a non-gender-specific third person. It initially met ridicule but has gradually become more accepted.


As a clever person like you has likely inferred from Devinganger's posts, jcarman's post and mine, there's been a lot of controversy regarding introducing singular third person ungendered in English as well. "They" is winning mostly because the word's been used that way for a long time in "non-standard" English, and at one time was accepted usage. I suppose that I could have lived with "zie" and "zim" though. :D

The history of English second-person is rather more drawn-out. There was a "familiar" second person, "thee", which died out in the eighteenth century except for a few fringe groups and isolated dialects. So what we're left with is actually the formal "you", corresponding to Swedish "ni". There used to be a plural form, "ye" ("Oh ye of little faith!" is a quote that still uses it.)

Actually my native dialect, south Texan, uses "you" for second person singular and "y'all" for second person plural (although I'm told that in the decades since I left usage has drifted to "y'all" for second person singular and "all y'all" for second person plural.) I was scandalised in elementary school when I was told that "y'all" wasn't proper grammar and "you" should be used as both singular and plural. However would I tell the difference? No wonder Yankees were so addled.

lunk wrote:Our royalty (especially the king) has by tradition used the plural ’we’ and ’us’ when referring to themselves as singular persons. Never ’I’ and ’me’. And it wouldn’t be polite to officially say ’him’ or ’his’ about the king. (hence my reaction to "writer")


Which explains your reaction perfectly. As I understand it, the royal plural "we" and "us" is used by English royalty as well (though I'm unlikely to ever be in a position to observe it!) But it stops short of others' referring to the monarch as "their Royal Majesty," "Her (or His) Royal Majesty" or "he" or "she" is used, I believe. And I'm ignorant of the history of that, as a proper citizen of a rebellious former colony should be. Perhaps one of Her Majesty's loyal subjects will stop by and explain. :wink:
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Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:24 am Post

Silverdragon wrote:But it stops short of others' referring to the monarch as "their Royal Majesty," "Her (or His) Royal Majesty" or "he" or "she" is used, I believe. And I'm ignorant of the history of that, as a proper citizen of a rebellious former colony should be. Perhaps one of Her Majesty's loyal subjects will stop by and explain. :wink:

And to add to that, in conversations directly with His Majesty one is expected to say either the formal Your Majesty or in less formal conversations The King (Kungen).

Language is difficult. :)
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Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:42 am Post

No kidding. If I ever have to speak to a monarch, I'll need a grammar coach. :D
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Fri Jul 03, 2020 6:14 am Post

Silverdragon wrote:Actually my native dialect, south Texan, uses "you" for second person singular and "y'all" for second person plural (although I'm told that in the decades since I left usage has drifted to "y'all" for second person singular and "all y'all" for second person plural.) I was scandalised in elementary school when I was told that "y'all" wasn't proper grammar and "you" should be used as both singular and plural. However would I tell the difference? No wonder Yankees were so addled.


I've seen some adoption of "y'all" outside the US South, probably because it's so useful. I even had a Finnish friend use it once, correctly! And there are other regional variants that serve the same purpose, like "you'uns" (southwestern Pennsylvania, West Virginia). The way I learned it (south Louisiana), "y'all" is always plural, but a group might be further delimited by "some of y'all" or "all of y'all."

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Fri Jul 03, 2020 7:49 am Post

I think my non-Southern friend was confused by group specifications; as you describe them they make sense and fit what I remember. My family left when I was 12 for Oklahoma, where a noticeably different dialect is spoken, and until I learned to speak it I was teased a lot.
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Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:46 am Post

Silverdragon wrote:As I understand it, the royal plural "we" and "us" is used by English royalty as well (though I'm unlikely to ever be in a position to observe it!) But it stops short of others' referring to the monarch as "their Royal Majesty," "Her (or His) Royal Majesty" or "he" or "she" is used, I believe. And I'm ignorant of the history of that, as a proper citizen of a rebellious former colony should be. Perhaps one of Her Majesty's loyal subjects will stop by and explain. :wink:

As a subject of "her Brittanic Majesty", or "her Majesty" but never "her Royal Majesty" :D and an RP (Received Pronunciation … not the it's "received" any more!) speaker:

Having suffered for years in Xiamen from an American colleague who continually told my students not to listen to me because "I couldn't speak English"! … on the other hand, one of our esteemed colleagues on this forum came to the UK, arriving in Manchester, and discovered they couldn't understand a word that was said. Like people all over the world, they assumed we all speak "the Queen's English", which none of us speak because the Royal Family have their own dialect, with Prince Charles having the strongest version. (Interestingly, I balk at the first "they" but not at the second!)

"Thee", "tha", even "tuh" (schwa, neutral vowel) is common in most northern English dialects.

Secondly, while people argue over 'they-singular', this is down to linguistic mavens who think they have logic on their sides, but not only have we been using it for centuries in spoken English, but even the most ardent critics of it's use almost certainly use it unconsciously.

Many decades ago—when I had the misfortune to be an EFL teacher—a friend and I wrote a "Speaking Skills" book which was published by Penguin. Inevitably, it went through the hands of their editors who applied their house-style used in all those classics and literary works. When it came to "There's someone at the door … could you go and see what they want, please?" the editor insisted on "… what he or she wants…". I would bet anything, that that editor would never have used "… what he or she wants…" in making that request to their partner! But a house-style is a house-style. The book and it's accompanying cassettes may possibly have covered it's costs and our advance; we never got any royalties. :D

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