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What's a "hu?" More importantly: Why?

What's a "hu?" More importantly: Why? mike_briotta_web.jpg
Mike Briotta, PRIME Editor
A piece of mail arrived at PRIME this month promoting a brand new pronoun, called "hu." Apparently the convention of using masculine pronouns has long been an issue for feminists. The contrivance "s/he" was one 1970s attempt at righting this perceived wrong, but it never stuck around. Dubbed by pronoun promoters as "the stylist's choice in epicene pronouns," the two-letter word "hu" is now intended to replace a wide variety of pronouns already well established in the English language, namely "he, she and it." The group backing this brave new world of brand new words is called "The Archangul Foundation," and the intentional misspelling of "Archangel" by the group itself should be a red flag right away. It's stated purpose? "Reforming the English language." Sure, that sounds easy enough. This braintrust from the Alabama town of Altoona (the authoritative source for all your grammatical marching orders) is calling their creation a "sex-free" pronoun that is "one small step for humankind." Some "hu" examples they graciously provided to PRIME are: "To each hu own." And "That fine detective novel draws the reader in, teasing hu to puzzle out for huself the solution to the mystery." They claim it's also a useful word when you're unsure of the subject's gender, as in the example: "That's a beautiful baby. What's hus name?" Nothing cumbersome about those examples, right? I'm sure we'll all sleep easier tonight knowing that the Archangul Foundation has solved the single greatest problem facing the world today. No, they're not addressing life-and-death issues like famine or disease, but rather trying to eradicate the use of gender-specific pronouns in everyday situations. What's really scary is a quote taken from a pro-"hu" web site, which admits that fully grown adults complete with adult critical thinking skills would reject this new idea, but states that "100 percent of the public's resistance to the adoption of 'hu' will dissolve when the young are indoctrinated." Yikes. Whenever your main option is to indoctrinate the young, it's probably a good time to re-think your cause. While there's some debate if it should be pronounced "hue" or "huh" or "hoo," the word apparently derives from the first part of the word "human." There's a slight problem, though. There's already a word in the English language that sounds exactly the way "hu" looks. It's a fairly popular word with many inquiring applications. But "who" knows? Maybe this idea could really take off. Until next time, Mike Briotta, PRIME Editor mikeb@thereminder.com Bookmark and Share