Friday, 11 June 2010


Some of my friends have wonderful e-mail names, for example 'prettypinkpig', 'sultanofsin', 'lucyskywalker', 'tallstraightA'. An extreme example was 'sukitanc'; as I was grappling with an Indian organization called ANC at the time, I thought it was some obscure reference to them, until my friend explained that it meant 'suck it and see' - an invitation that I declined.

I have been trying to get a new one-letter word into the English dictionary: 'to e' meaning to e-mail someone, also to be used in compounds such as 'e-address', 'e-friend'. So far I have not succeeded, but I hope friends will use it so that eventually the dictionary writers will notice.

My other language project is to create an alternative to 'he or she'. I find the use of 'they' or 'one' very clumsy, and still more the arbitrary use of 'he' or 'she' where no gender is implied. My idea is to recruit 'a' as a pronoun; it comes from the word 'one' in any case, so there is a precedent. The possessive 'as' looks odd on paper but is easily accepted by the ear; after all, it sounds rather like 'hers'. If the reader has as doubts a should at least try it.

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