Comparative analysis of advocacy strategies in justifications for gender-neutral English


  • Max Winig Swarthmore College
  • Ell Rose Swarthmore College



non-binary gender, gender-neutral language, singular they, neopronouns, folk linguistics, advocacy, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, language change, agency


This comparative analysis of arguments for singular they and neopronoun adoption focuses on two justifications: historical presence of gender-neutral language in English and individuals’ freedom to choose affirming terms for themselves. We found significant relationships between support for singular they and historical references, as well as neopronoun support and agency references, indicating a meaningful distinction in the ways language users justify different preferences. The frequency of specific arguments illuminates how people conceptualize language, which arguments are perceived as effective, and who must be convinced, and these findings can inform our understanding of folk perspectives on where and how prestige is granted to linguistic features.




How to Cite

Winig, Max, and Ell Rose. 2024. “Comparative Analysis of Advocacy Strategies in Justifications for Gender-Neutral English”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 9 (1): 5663.