Gender neutral pronouns in Norwegian?
The Swedish word "hen" has been being used to refer to someone in a gender neutral way. I was wondering if the same word is used in Norwegian society, or if there's an alternate word that's an equivalent?
"Hin" would be the word you were looking for according to this article. That said, it's more of a curiosity than a word that's taken seriously, and it's not widely understood to be a gender-neutral pronoun. Much like in English, no gender-neutral pronoun has really taken hold, except for perhaps "den" which would refer to either gender in a non-specific context.
- Den som har lyst til å bli med bør sende oss en e-post.
- He/She/Whoever wants to come along should send us an email.
Språkrådet regarding 'hen' (2016-03-18, nynorsk):
- They encourage its use for people not wanting to identify as 'han' or 'hun'.
- They don't encourage its us as a gender-neutral pronoun, as 'vedkommende', 'han/hun' [and 'den'] are already common.
- They're unwilling to add it to the dictionary as it's not widely in use and pronouns are considered a closed word class.
Fun fact: 'hen' was inspired by the Finnish word 'hän', which is a gender-neutral pronoun. Finnish has no gender-specific pronouns. (source)
Wow, I didn't know hen was inspired by hän! :-) Although in colloquial Finnish, people tend to refer to other people as se = "it"... (But that's really colloquial!)
hungarian also has no gender-specific pronouns and instead has ő. this is also the case in estonian with ta on. this is the case in armenian with նա. azerbaijani also has no gender-specific pronouns and instead has o. Cebuano has siya as a gender-neutral pronoun. chichewa has iye. Filipino shares siya with Cebuano. In haitian creole, li is a gender-neutral pronoun. Hindi has वह. There are many more. While Japanese does have gender-specific pronouns,it also has gender-neutral pronouns ano hito,ano kata,yatsu,koitsu,soitsu,and aitsu. the last three are very informal and imply contempt.
I have seen 'hen' in print in newspapers, but it sees limited use. I think it's somewhat common in feminist circles. Alternatives that are more widely used are 'han/hun' or the rather elaborate 'vedkommende'.
Additionally, you cannot use 'de' as a singular pronoun the way 'they' is used in English.