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Facebook and Singular 'They'

December 8th, 2009
facebook, they, ling  [html]
For a while facebook used singular 'they' when it wanted to talk about someone who had not specified their gender. So I would occasionally see updates from friends that read like "John Smith is mad at their sister" or "Jane Doe is happy with themself". I'm ok with singular 'they' as I used it in the first sentence of this paragraph, and facebook's usage seemed strange even to me. As a comprimise, though, I thought it was reasonable.

Apparently facebook changed this about a year ago. They claimed that translation into other languages didn't work for ungendered people. Sadness; I liked how gramatically progressive facebook was being.

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