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Two ‘Man Words’ that Keep Us Tied to Men

In our last blog, we fixed tha most common ‘man’ word in English by a simple spelling change:

Spelling change #1 ‘the’ becomes ‘tha’.

We say ‘tha’ far more often than we say ‘thē’, so it makes sense. We also noted that dictionaries hold to ‘t-h-ē’ and will continue to do so unless we require a spelling change. For decades, dictionaries have used ‘ә’ (called a ‘schwa’) to symbolize the ‘a’ sound in ‘tha’ and other words. It’s always in parenthesis (after the formal spelling of ‘thē’), as if it’s not as important. Like an exception rather than our primary way of pronouncing ‘tha’.

Did You Know? Dictionaries add/change words constantly. Asking for a word to be spelled the way it sounds is not revolutionary. In WEnglish, we are working to brings conscious awareness to how poorly women are treated in English words. We hope you’re willing to join us in getting dictionaries to change how they spell ‘the’.

It’s the biggest, single-word fix in English!

Now, we add two more word change requests to make English more of a ‘WE’/inclusive language. Ready?


Both ‘SHE’ and ‘HER’ are very common in English; yet both are ‘man’ words by our WEnglish definition. S-HE; HE-R. One letter added to each ‘he’ word converts it to a word referring to those of us who aren’t men. Note: Other languages handle these words differently but run into trouble by making nouns follow masculine or feminine articles. OHHH. Be still my heart! We’re not going to do that. Don’t you wonder how those languages decided which nouns were boys and which were girls? UGH.

A WEnglish Solution

Spelling Change #2: S-H-E becomes SHI:

WEnglish uses ‘shi’ to disconnect from ‘he’. It’s not our favorite spelling change, but it signifies a break from tradition, and that’s important.

You’ll notice that there are very few spelling changes in WEnglish. We’re hitting key words right away to show you how easily we can convert English to WEnglish.

(Vivian’s latest four-book novel series is written in both English and WEnglish if you want to see what’s different. Trust us, it’s not scary at all.)

Spelling Change #3: HER becomes HIR:

WEnglish uses ‘hir’ to disconnect from ‘he’.

HER to ‘HIR’ is an easier transition because we already use ‘hir’ in existing words like ‘shirt’.

A Word about ‘ER’: ‘ER’ as used in expressions like ‘git ‘er done’ are not used in WEnglish because ‘er’ is a slangy way to say ‘her’. Do you agree? WEnglish does not use slang because most slang is derogatory to those of us who aren’t men–far more often than slang terms to degrade men. (Further information is available in two books: ‘Unspinning the Spin’ (referred to earlier in these blogs) and ‘WordSlut’ by Amanda Montell, who says on page 17, “Language is the next frontier of modern gender equality.”) I’d say ‘a-men’, but if you’ve read this far, you can see why a WEnglish speaker doesn’t use that word. Let’s just say YES!.

How are you feeling? So far, WEnglish is suggesting three word spelling changes. A couple more is all it takes to become a WEnglish pro!

In our next blog, we’ll finish up with those two additional words before we hit tha BIG TIME. Our greatest challenge? To stop using words that discredit women. Stay tuned for BLOG #7 as we wind up our WEnglish Word Collider!

Vivian Probst

Author, Linguist, Creator of WEnglish for WEquality™

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As a linguist, I've studied English for (let's say) approximately fifteen years. No kidding. What about English could possibly enthrall a linguist that long? So glad you asked. Even if you didn't, it'

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