Date: Thu, 11 Aug 1994 14:37:55 -0500 From: debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UIUC.EDU Subject: Re: you >Queries: > >1) My mother taught me to use "it" for babies regardless of sex; she >herself used "it" for a baby until about the time it started to walk and >talk--at which time she referred to it as "he" or "she." I offended people >here in Middle Georgia--well, women (because men never asked about my baby >except to express sympathy for the chaos at home)--when I referred to my >infant daughter as an "it." Anybody else's momma teach them/him/her the >same use of "it/him/her"? Was this some bizarre pronoun calque from >Bohemian? >Wayne Glowka No, not at all. Until recently the pronoun of choice for infants seems to have been "it." You find this in everything from newspaper stories to fiction to supreme court decisions. I've even seen it in linguistic elicitation tests (which were testing something else besides pronouns). I was initially startled by this, since it seemed so inhuman. After 3 children, I think it's the parents who become its, not the kids. dennis -- Dennis Baron debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Department of English 217-333-2392 University of Illinois fax: 217-333-4321 608 South Wright Street Urbana, Illinois 61801