Yo: The New Gender-Neutral Pronoun

Official seal of City of BaltimoreAnybody who spends time writing is, at one time or another, vexed by the lack of a gender-neutral (should read sex-neutral) pronoun in the English language. Attempts have been made to overcome this problem either by avoiding indefinite pronouns, or by the use of his or her or his/her. Both of these fixes have drawbacks. Their was considered singular until the 18th century but has yet to make a resurgence, despite its pedigree. Because pronouns, in English, belong to a closed word class it has been very difficult to add any neologisms. Thus, we are without a workable resolution.

Then came Baltimore. The denizens of Crabtown have given us the new third-person singular pronoun yo. As in Yo handin’ out papers. Some of the spontaneous uses of yo cited in the paper:

Yo was tuckin’ in his shirt!
Yo threw a thumbtack at me.
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