Washington, Jan 5 (IANS) The American Dialect Society has crowned the singular pronoun ‘they’ as the word of the decade, adding that the plural pronoun’s growing use as a singular form to refer to people with a non-binary gender identity.
The winner was decided in a vote by the body’s 350 members at an annual gathering on Friday, reported Deutsche Welle.
The society’s voting session presided over by Ben Zimmer, chair of the American Dialect Society’s new words committee, said: “When a basic part of speech like pronouns becomes a vital indicator of social trends, linguists pay attention.”
“The selection of ‘(my) pronouns’ as word of the year speaks to how the personal expression of gender identity has become an increasing part of our shared discourse.
“That trend is also reflected in singular ‘they’ being chosen as word of the decade, with a growing recognition of the use of they for those whose identities don’t conform to the binary of he and she.”
Other words on the list for word of the decade included “meme,” which came in second place, followed by “climate,” “#BlackLivesMatter,” “woke” and “MeToo.”
“They” was also crowned word of the year by US dictionary Merriam-Webster in 2019.