Culture

Norway To Add Gender-Neutral Pronoun to the Dictionary

“Hen” has entered the chat.

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Norway To Add Gender-Neutral Pronoun to the Dictionary

“Hen” has entered the chat.

The language council in Norway has announced a possible inclusive change to the country’s dictionaries. Within a year, the country in Europe will add the term “hen” to accompany the feminine “hun” and masculine “han.”

The gender-neutral pronoun was believed to not be possible because it did not work with Norway’s speech patterns. Similar discourse has taken place in the U.S., where people have been utterly confused as to how to use the term “them.”

Carl-Oscar Vik, an 18 year old from Norway shared his perspective with The Guardian. He has hope that this change will give people like him more representation. “I think that a normal person on the street doesn’t know anyone who identifies as non-binary,” they said. “But I hope that by getting hen into the dictionary we can get the idea out there, because there are many people who don’t feel at home in certain pronouns but don’t have the words to describe it.”

Thankfully, public understanding is changing and gender-neutral terms are being accepted worldwide. France recently started acknowledging non-binary pronouns in their dictionaries as well. Le Petit Robert, a mainstream French dictionary, added “iel” and “iels” as official non-binary pronouns. In 2019, the U.S. also made the inclusive change to recognize “they” as a gender-neutral term.

Global recognition of identities outside of the gender binary is a great sign. Hopefully, these changes are a prerequisite to non-binary individuals being supported and recognized by law.

Norway is expected to make the official change anywhere between spring to autumn this year.

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