Persuade for or against adding gender neutral terms to language - The Best Online Debate Website | DebateIsland.com The Best Online Debate Website | DebateIsland.com
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Persuade for or against adding gender neutral terms to language
in General

I'm seeing this movement of modern feminists or people that want to change the language to stop using she or he or certain gender terms similar to and add gender-neutral terms. Not only in english, but in spanish too. It is very frustrating because I don't understand their logic. I was wondering if you guys could help me understand why or why not to change the language. I love to research, but something in me is not ver confident in my ability to keep an unbiased position while doing my own research. I want to hear what everyone here knows about the matter and how they perceive this movement to change our languages. 
joecavalry
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Persuaded Argument

  • drodgersdrodgers 22 Pts
    edited June 9 Winning Argument ✓
    Language is constantly changing.  If all you want to do is determine if it's ok for new words to develop naturally, the answer is YES.  In fact, it happens all the time. Just listen to the AP top 40 and you'll hear words you've never heard before, that probably aren't accepted as words yet according to webster's dictionary.

    If you're asking is it ok for a portion of society to convince gov't that they should be able to choose the words used to describe them and then COMPEL the citizens to use those words, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT.

    In short, I am for any new words someone wants to use.  I may or may not use them.

    I'm completely against any kind of compelled speech or hate crime laws regarding my choice of words I use to describe someone.



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Arguments

  • joecavalryjoecavalry 338 Pts
    No, Gender neutral terms shouldn’t be added to languages. It could be added in slang.
    DebateIslander and a DebateIsland.com lover. 
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 123 Pts
    The demand for gender-neutral term arises from the natural trends in every language towards 1) precision and 2) efficiency. While the movement towards replacing the traditional terms with the gender-neutral ones gained traction relatively recently, it has always been on the horizon, so to speak. 

    Suppose I want to get a plumber to fix my bathroom sink. I will say: "I want a plumber appointment. I hope he will fix my bathroom sink". What is the problem with this sentence? It is incorrect if the plumber happens to not be a male. Incorrect sentences caused by the core language structure are no bueno.

    Now, the usual way to address this issue is to say: "I hope he/she will fix my bathroom sink". But this construct is somewhat awkward and inefficient, as it includes two words in place of one. In addition, "he/she" assumes that there are only two genders, which is not entirely correct: what about androgynous people?
    Another way is to replace "he/she" with "them", however this is a word inconsistent with the grammatical structure, as "they" typically refers to multiple people, not a single individual.

    As such, a word is in demand that would address all these issues and replace he/she. Of course, such a drastic change of the core element of the language does not come easy - but it illustrates the general problem these "gender-neutral language" movements are pointing out. Our language has a lot of gender-specific terms that make the language much less efficient and precise than it could be, and inconsistencies in the language have subtle consequences on our society as a whole, introducing various subconscious biases we are not aware of.
    drodgers
  • drodgersdrodgers 22 Pts
    @MayCaesar

    Your reasons are patently wrong.  No language changes out of some academic desire for accuracy and efficiency.  Language changes with the common people deciding to say different things in different ways.

    THE thing driving this discussion for change at this time is a very small number of people wanting to be called a few specific words or not as the case may be.

    Is has ZERO to do with people wanting to be precise or efficient.

    In your scenario, you can always correctly say.  "I hope to have my bathroom sink fixed."  That is both precise and efficient.  No new gender terms needed.
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