Reminiscent of the ‘droid-speak’ of Star Wars, those trying to undermine the traditional ideas of gender roles are trying, once again, to replace the pronouns “he” and “she” with wild fabrications they deem to be gender neutral words. No longer an abstract academic exercise for linguists, policies mandating the use of the pronouns ‘ze’ and ‘hir’ (which rhymes with here) are being adopted in schools, workplaces and the military, often with consequences for those who refuse to comply with the changes.

Linguists label these alien dialogue words as open-class or closed-class, and the distinction is key here. Nouns, adjectives and verbs are all open- class words. A hundred years ago, we didn’t have the noun “blog”, the verb “google” or use the adjective “cool” in the same sense we do now. But English allows new open-class words to be added, subtracted or replaced as needed. ¬†FULL REPORT