Based on decades of research, Baron’s masterly work documents the historical and continued importance of personal pronouns. Those interested in gender politics or English grammar, or who feel that 'he' and 'she' are inadequate, would benefit greatly from perusing this book.
After this slightly forced attempt at with-itness, What’s Your Pronoun? settles down into a scrupulous and absorbing survey. Its great virtue is to show that these issues are nothing new ... Baron’s book layers on rather too many examples of historical usage, including a 60-page 'chronology of gender-neutral and nonbinary pronouns' at the end. This scholarly assiduousness, though, also makes him the ideal pilot through these contentious political-linguistic waters. If you want to know why more people are asking 'what’s your pronoun?' then you (singular or plural) should read this book.
If it is true, as Baron declares, that 'Pronouns are suddenly sexy,' then his nearly 300 pages devoted to that part of speech must be X-rated! But, alas, there’s nothing especially titillating here ... While he gives attention to current circumstances, he spends more time on a deep dive all the way back to the first English grammars of the seventeenth century, evidencing that his quest is hardly new. He doesn’t limit his search to history, however; he eventually turns his attention to the political controversies that have brought pronouns into the limelight, ending his search with the declaration that the missing word is (drumroll, please) the singular they. He concludes with a flourish: an überambitious, 58-page chronology of gender-neutral and nonbinary pronouns. Esoteric? Yes, but catnip for the grammarian, especially the culturally and politically conscious variety.
In addition to extensive notes on the editors, educators, writers, and others who have added their opinions and alternatives to the effort, Baron also archives insights on the popular and common uses of a singular 'they' ... Arranged thematically, some chapters overlap in content, but overall, they offer helpful, nuanced considerations about the power and politics of attempts to control how language evolves. Whether based on authorial intent or individual identity, Baron’s catalog of the missing singular form also offers detailed proof that inventing, discovering, or seeking gender-neutral pronouns is not a new endeavor. The author’s playful tone imbues the text with friendly sensitivity, and readers will appreciate his decades of research and meticulous attention to documents and sources. The result is a book that reflects the transformational capacity of language ... A lively book for language lovers, those confused about uses of they/them, and anyone curious about writing while gendered.
... entertaining and thoroughly documented ... In conclusion, [Baron] offers an 'annotated historical lexicon' of more 250 gender-neutral pronouns, a gold mine for readers who delight in the strangeness of language, as well as a clear demonstration of the thorniness of the issue. This easygoing, comprehensive guide will appeal to progressive word geeks ...