From VOA Learning English, this is the education report. American language experts have chosen "they" as the 2015 word of the year. The American Dialect Society, or A.D.S., voted on the issue at a conference in Washington.
Allan Metcalf ⪢⪢
A.D.S. President Allan Metcalf said " People have argued about the use of a singular 'they' for more than 100 years" and he says "100 years from now, people will still be debating it."
Anna Matteo ⪢⪢
Metcalf says the decision for the word of the year is not based on science. Instead, he says the A.D.S. chooses from words that express the concerns and stories of the past year. For VOA Learning English, I'm Anna Matteo.
Ben Zimmer ⪢⪢
Ben Zimmer writes about language for the Wall Street Journal. He says, "There has been a lot of debate recently about something that has been in our language for centuries."
for coffee ⪢⪢
The correct use, however, is a third person plural pronoun. For example, "When I meet my school friends for coffee, they are always late."
"They" is a plural pronoun. For years, people speaking English have used it as a singular pronoun. For example, "I am meeting a friend for coffee and I hope they are not late."
third person ⪢⪢
He explains that English does not have a third person singular pronoun that does not identify as male or female.
Zimmer says that more and more "they" is being used to replace the traditional phrase, "he or she".
For example, "they" is used for people who identify as transgender. When former Olympic athelete Bruce Jenner took a female identity last year, he changed his name to Caitlyn Jenner.
The new use of "they" would replace "he" and the word "their" would replace "his". For example, "They changed their name to Caitlyn Jenner."