I have recently decided to change my major from Biomedical engineering to a double major in Linguistics and Neuroscience. Excited to actually study something that I find enjoyable, I have been spending every minute of my day procrastinating by trying to memorize what Wikipedia has to say about linguistics and neuroscience. Also I have been reading and have finished In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build A Perfect Language by Arika Okrent. An astoundingly interesting book and a must read for anyone with a slight flair for language. My further meanderings into procrastination led me to attend UNC Chapel Hill’s LGBT student group’s meeting last Thursday where the topic was Trans 101 (I have to express my dearest apologies for I have forgotten the presenters surname, first name is Mandy). After which I felt that using gendered pronouns was now akin to hate crimes.
Yet instead of being inspired to fight for and rally for LGBT equality with civil disobedient vigor, I couldn’t help wondering that explicitly asking if one preferred male or female pronouns was a bit long-winded. Then a small voice inside my head uttered "the neuter case!" (which is common in the other Germanic languages). We would simply need to turn back the clock to old English where there was a plethora of pronouns. So just as we might say the gendered 'he' or 'her' we would say neutered 'hit.' We could even introduce different new and artificial pronouns for gender identity and expression; as well as transitions and intersexes and so on. There by mapping the English language to the current need for equality and representation.
Though ultimately this would not bring about equality though language, like Ludwik Łazarz Zamenhof hoped to do with his Esperanto, but it would make the tool that is language more, in a way, ergonomic. Yet such an overhaul is simply a flight of fancy; I do not expect nor actively entertain the idea that grammarians could be the new LGBT activists though I will certainly be a linguist of the movement. So now I leave you dear reader to write your next rally speech in old English.