Why doesn’t anybody ever tell you this stuff? On the origins of the masculine and feminine pronouns.Posted: February 1, 2014
I just discovered the most amazing posting about pronouns in the American Bibliopolist.
There are many perfectnesses in this work. But the best, by far, must be his excursus on the origins of he and she:
It would be a fortunate thing for us if there were any fossil remains of language. We could then discover in the rock of the earliest words made use of, many of which are necessarily buried in oblivion, and so arrive at some conclusion respecting the invention of our masculine pronoun he. It is supposable, and, indeed, only supposable, that it first found utterance through the lips of a woman, an event something like the dropping of pearls from the lips of the girl in the fairy tale. The Scotch woman always speaks of her husband as he. In the days of courtship her maiden timidly prevented her particularizing him. Besides, what need had she to specify the one who was all the world to her? Read the rest of this entry »