American Dialect Society’s word of the year is ‘they’

The organization honored the singular use of the pronoun and gave a nod to acceptance of gender neutrality in language.

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There’s no doubt that 2015 was a momentous year for the acceptance of gender differences. As proof, we can look to its presence in language.

The American Dialect Society announced its word of the year, and the gender-neutral singular pronoun “they” gets the honor.

The linguists have voted. They is our new Word of the Year! #WOTY15 #LSA2016

— Am. Dialect Society (@americandialect) January 8, 2016

There was a significant amount of attention paid to “they” during 2015. In writing or speech, it became the most proper pronoun to use when referring to a person who chooses to reject the traditional gender binary alternatives “he” and “she.”

The Washington Post made headlines when it used they as a singular pronoun for a source in one of its stories. It’s now part of the paper’s style guide.

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