S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Neutered English Page keywords = language English Denglish neuter gender free non sexist - - - ">

Updated:   16 Jan 2011, 21:10:  ET
[Page created ; converted 16 Jan 2011

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/denglish.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/denglish.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I am scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Neutered English


DENGLISH - Neutered or Degenderized English

Original Proposal of 11 May 1990.


This page is concerned with a neutered (degenderized) English language only;
please visit my LANGUAGE page for language in general,
my CULTURE page (so-called) for literature and such,
and my fun page for humor (again, so-called).

(Neutered or

As noted on my LANGUAGE page, English is my native tongue, and my father's and his father's, although his father's father was born in Germany.  English is a gratuitously gender-specific language, offending women in general, feminists in particular, and any sensitive males, sexist by its very nature.  However, I was brought up as well by my mother, who was Hungarian-born, and her mother, both of whom spoke Magyar, a gender-free native language.  Thus my slant on language may be a bit different than that of those brought up in "normal" English.

In the late 1970s to early 1980s, stung by the constant rebukes of women who pounced on my every sexist gaffe, I set about finding the proverbial "better way" and, in my belief, succeeded.

I now use the nickname "Denglish"* to distinguish this way of non-sexist speaking; let the words of my more-formal 1990 proposal, submitted to, and ignored by, The New York TIMES (surprise!), tell it as it ought to be:

* - Oh, dear!  The Germans use the coined German word "Denglisch" for the abortion their Deutsch language has become, jammed chock-a-block full of English as it is, and some English-speaking people spell it "Denglish", but I'm sticking to my guns!  That's a German word and my usage is English!

[Incidentally, a foreign word brought into the German language is termed "eingedeutscht",
an adjective literally meaning "in-Germaned".]

(of 11 May 1990, ever-so-slightly edited
  and edited again on 08 Jul 2003):


The Case for a New Neuter Case

When the crisis in education of minority and disadvantaged children was at a peak in the 70's, while my children were in school, I made an outrageous suggestion which was laughed into oblivion.  I survived that.  My thought was that, since my offspring and their peers had all the advantages our society could offer, the best teachers should be assigned to those who needed their talents the most.  Very Marxian (quite odd coming from me, a staunch capitalist), but morally and ethically right on.  After the jeers and derision, nothing whatsoever came of that idea.  Nimby, NIMBY, NIMBY!

At the same time, feminism was rearing its Janus-heads.  The beautiful face promised equality in everything, not just opportunity, while the ugly face promised savage attack on all our institutions, regardless of merit, in the name of equality.  One of the targets for more mindless raving than careful study was, and remains, our truly sexist English language.  Only one who speaks a gender-free native language, such as my Hungarian grandmother did and my mother still does {did}, can really know the difference.  While I do not speak Hungarian, I grew up in a veritable soup of gender jumbling.  Speaking of my sister, "he" did so and so, while of my uncle's possession, "her" such and such was something or another.  Now, these were highly educated and cultured people and yet they never could quite shake off their genderless thinking.  Rather charming, especially in a rich, if subdued, Hungarian accent, but definitely odd in our society.

Thinking long and hard about the gratuitous gender-specificity of our English tongue, it became quite evident that a very simple solution was at hand.  One so easily adapted that it could become the law of the land in half a generation or less.  So, innocent soul that I am, I proposed it at a public school meeting.  My eardrums didn't shatter from the guffaws, but down I went to ignominious defeat under a cacaphony of cackles.  My, how I DID entertain the troops!

Quite simply put, English is a Teutonic tongue and the German neuter case fits right in as if it was born to the task, which of course is exactly the case, if I may be pardoned the pun.  All that is required to do so palatably is to adjust the sounds slightly to better accomodate the American ear and tongue and to doctor the spelling to best differentiate the words introduced from those which are already in the most common usage.

To this end, then, I propose the following change to the personal pronouns in our grammar (note the similarity of sounds to our own archaic, and the Friends' {Quakers'} current, Second Person Familiar):

              Masculine Feminine DEGENDERED (Neuter) (German) (pron.) (2nd Pers.)
Nominative      he        she       ZEE      (it)     (sie)   (zee)   (thou/thee)
Possesive       his     her/hers    ZINE     (its)    (sein)  (zine)   (thine)
Objective       him       her       ZEAR     (it)     (ihre)  (zirr)*   (thee)
[* - I changed the sound of "ZEAR" from "zear", too close to an all-too- common existing word (ear),
    to "zirr" as in "irrigate" or irreversible".]

That's all, folks! It's really that simple!  It truly fits, it sounds right, and it will look just fine after only a few days of use.  It is clearly understandable without training or practice and won't offend the ear of native-speaking or foreign-born practitioners of English of any level of proficiency.

To illustrate this ease of use, try reading this mini-sermon:


One doesn't have to be a Fundamentalist to believe that evil acts are perpetrated by evil people in our society or that there is a force acting in us that embodies the principle of evil.  But, for the non-believer, the idea that evil is a real, tangible thing is hard to swallow.  Nevertheless, one can't help but believe when zee is confronted with it.  I am mindful of a person at church (of all places) who literally glows with evil.  Zee is unabashedly and uncontrollably power-hungry, possibly to overcome a sense of childhood deprivation, and zee truly worships Mammon.  Whenever zee has an opportunity to exert zine influence in meetings, no matter who is discomfitted, zee just can't resist the challenge to throw zine not-inconsiderable weight around.  The more influence zee can exert. the more "joy" comes to zear.  There is a fiendish glow in zine eyes when the turn comes to zear to speak, and it increases visibly as zee expounds and expands on zine subject.  Zee prefaces zine remarks with a statement denying zine responsiblility, such as "I don't want to cause trouble, BUT - - - ", then zee presses on, regardless.

I must confess here; it takes one to know one.  I am a difficult person in my own right; I have even attended a seminar on how to deal with difficult people in order to cope better and to improve my image.  But nothing I can possibly dream up can match the inherent evil in this poor person's way.  When zee raises zine hand to speak, when zee draws in a very deep breath and puffs up for effect (now that IS an awesome sight) and launches into zine tirade, everyone cringes in apprehension.  How any decent congregation can give power to such a reprehensible person is almost beyond me, but give it to zear they do, non-the-less.  Zie relishes every chance to bully and to circumvent the democratic process, apparently as much for zine raw exercise of power as to accomplish zine end (at least there we differ greatly).  To zear, and everyone of zine ilk, I wish good riddance at my most uncharitable worst, and enlightenment at my most charitable best.

If the shoe fits, - - - !

S. Berliner, III - 11 May 1990

© Copyright S. Berliner, III - 1990 - All rights reserved.

This page is concerned with a neutered (degenderized) English language only;
please visit my LANGUAGE page for language in general,
my CULTURE page (so-called) for literature and such,
and my fun page for humor (again, so-called).


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

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