What a complete Burke!
I love the Burke family. They are the gift that keeps on giving.
Just when you think things have quietened down, up they pop and cause more chaos.
For those of you not familiar with this family, they seem to be some kind of Christian Fundamentalist mob. Without a doubt they are all extremely intelligent [they seem to have no problem getting degrees and the like], but they’re not very clever.
It started last Autumn when Enoch – a teacher – refused to use the “them/they” construct on a pupil who was confused about it’s gender. Now I happen to agree fully with this as the matter of gender pronouns is a very basic grammatical principle – he/she is singular while “them/they” is plural. The latter maybe used as a singular but only in specific instance when the gender can be either [i.e. “a person may agree if they so wish”]. However, having agreed with dear Enoch our paths then diverge. I see it as a matter of basic grammar while he somehow sees it as a matter of religion.
So the bold Enoch was suspended. However he continued to attend for duty.
The school got a barring order. He still turned up every day.
He was brought to court and convicted of breaching the injunction. He fought with the judge and was sentenced to gaol until he agreed to stay away from the school.
Come Christmas, for some strange reason he was released from incarceration. He resumed his presence at the school.
In the meantime the school sacked Enoch. I don’t know why they took so long.
Enoch objected to this and tried to get an injunction preventing the sacking.
The judge reasonably pointed out that he wouldn’t issue and injunction as Enoch himself was breaching an injunction. A row ensued in court. Enoch was fined €700 a day if he continued to turn up at the school.
Enoch continued turning up at the school.
Enoch then brought another case against the school [I think, as it’s getting very confusing at this point]. He case was adjjurned. Another fight in court.
The case finally came up and Enoch [and his family] launched into a tirade of abuse directed at the court and the judge in particular. Mayhem ensued and the whole family were eventually physically and forcibly ejected from the court.
Enter Simeon, He is Enoch’s brother and had been arrested during the previous melee. Like Enoch, he had been offered bail but refused. Now back in court he proceeded to argue with the judge and wouldn’t shut up. The judge remanded him back to prison. He objected as he wouldn’t then be able to finish his law exams. At this point I laughed out loud.
I don’t know where this is all going or how it will end. Certainly the family seem determined to continue their protest by fighting [literally] in court. Who is next for a gaol sentence?
My money is on Ammi, the sister.
With the mother a close second.
“a person may agree if they so wish”
Could that plural be OK because in the real world it allows for more than one person to agree from a group of persons? Or could it be that the corect language should be either ‘persons may… or ‘he or she’ in place of ‘they’? Each option carries slightly different meaning
I’m just pleased I grew up with english and never had to try and learn it as a second language ‘cos it’s a tricksy structure! I’m also pleased not to live next door to the Burke family.
My preference would be for the “he or she” construct, and it is the one I would tend to use. Equally I could use “people may agree if they so wish”. Either of those avoids the use of a singular “they”. I agree totally about the English language. It lacks rhyme nor reason in so many ways. I do feel sorry for anyone trying to learn it from scratch.
A “confused” school kid insists on being called “they” instead of he or she.
Teaches says “don’t be silly, I’m not going to do that. Now sit down and stop disrupting my lesson”
The school, instead of supporting the teacher, insists that the teacher does what the child demands. Teacher must say “they” and not he or she. That’s what’s known as compelled speech. When teacher refuses, school applies disciplinary procedure and then goes to courts to enforce this.
Court, instead of saying “don’t be silly, teacher is there to teach, and teach correct grammar amongst other things, tell the child to be quiet and learn” applies the full force of the law including jailing teacher.
We’ve seen this sort of thing before. It was popular in China during the Cultural Revolution…
Spot on. However there seems to be little regard for teaching grammar these days judging by what I hear on television.
In my humble opinion a person may be permitted the use of “they/them” pronouns if certified with Schizophrenia.
Good point. Though if that person were to refer to himself [or herself] then “we” is acceptable but I would still refer to the person by gender,
This is all getting too complicated!
“Though if that person were to refer to himself [or herself] then “we” is acceptable.”
Only in the case of royalty.
Whether true or not, I was once told that the only language more difficult to learn to speak properly than English is Mandarin Chinese.