As an alternative to ‘they’ for just one body?

I’m sorry, but I have real difficulty in using a plural pronoun to refer to just one person. I don’t want to get into the political ramifications here or gender limitations of our language or other arguments. To call one person “they” has me looking for the rest of the group. And when that “they” is being discussed at the same as “their” family or coworkers, I’m left with no idea who’s really being discussed. Life’s already confusing enough.

How about a whole new set of pronouns?

Let me offer “vey,” “vem,” “veir” for consideration. (I actually misheard “they” as “vey,” which got the ball rolling.)

It’s a way we can tell vem apart from veir family, household, even team.

Yes, I know the gender identity objections, especially when all (collectively) are placed under a masculine pronoun. I can even object to that practice by noting the confusion at times of ambiguity when trying to apply it specifically to males-only.

What can we do to gain greater all-around clarity rather than muddy the language further? 


3 thoughts on “As an alternative to ‘they’ for just one body?

  1. I think context makes it clear enough. I’ve started using they as a matter of course, unless there’s a particular reason why gender is important. We’ve already done it to second person pronouns where the plural form (you/your) has replaced the earlier singular (thou/thee/thy).

    As an aside, my mother served as an army nurse in Italy after that country’s surrender and one of the items she [her gender identity was important to her] brought back to Aotearoa was an Italian/English dictionary. I have no idea when it was printed, but second person singular was always translated as thou, thee and thy.

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