Sweden gender-neutral pronoun: academy adds gender-neutral pronoun ‘hen’ to dictionary

March 29, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Sweden’s gender-neutral pronoun is being applauded by Sweden’s growing LGBT community. The European country now has added the pronoun hen to their dictionary and lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders all over the world are asking when will their governments make similar changes.

Sweden gender-neutral pronoun

Sweden’s gender-neutral pronoun, hen, which was recently added to the dictionary is stirring up debate. Last week, like the Webster, the official dictionary of the Swedish language added thousands of new words.

This year, 13,000 new words made it in the dictionary, according to the editors of the Swedish Academy, but a three letter-word is making headlines. In Swedish, he is translated by han, and she is translated by hon, but now there is gender-neutral pronoun called hen.

The gender-neutral pronoun hen can be used when the gender of the person is not known or when the sex of an individual is not important. Sweden’s growing LGBT community is applauding the move because it is perfect for a person who is transitioning from one gender to another a la Bruce Jenner.

Hen can be used to refer to a person who is both male and female. While hen is entering the dictionary this year, it has been commonly used in the country since the early 2000s.

Astrid Öhman, a college student, said that Sweden’s gender-neutral is often used on television and radio. The young woman shared:

“You hear it all the time on TV shows, radio, and magazines, and you don’t even think about it anymore.I was confused by it when I first heard it a few years ago, but now it’s just another word in our dictionary – though with an important purpose, of course.”

Words like “negerboll” (negro ball), which is a candy and “neger” meaning negro, “zigenare” meaning gypsy, will be removed from the dictionary and be replaced with “svart” meaning black, and “rom” meaning Roma.

Swedish Academy’s Svenska Akademiens ordlista goes on sale on April 15. Sweden’s gender-neutral pronoun has made many happy and angered few.

One person stated that Sweden is trying to banish gender, and they wished America would catch up. While another said that the Swedes have no balls and should simply give up the masculine gender altogether.

Sweden adopts gender-neutral pronoun, this is progress for some, and the beginning of the end for others. Where do you stand on this move?


Category: News

Comments (25)

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  1. chuck says:

    Hell no the whole world can not go and be freaks of nature.

    • ronnie says:

      I agree you are born boy or girl no in between no I am not sure it is easy boy or girl male or female anything else is choice to buck system god made male then female stop all this crap

      • Zoey White says:

        God doesn’t exist, so how could he make anything? Also, who are you to decide what is and is not a freak of nature?

      • ken says:

        ahh but there are people who are born with both male and female genitalia. And hermaphrodites also exist in nature, and there are some animals that can change there sex, literally, if there’s a need. Aren’t they apart of this system that was created? I mean to you guys god is all knowing and powerful and what not so isn’t calling anyone a “freak of nature” blasphemy or something?

  2. ITrollLibtards says:

    What the heck is wrong with people these days? Boys and girls are, have always been, and will always be different. There’s nothing, I repeat, NOTHING wrong with that. Things like this cause more problems than they solve. If people don’t like being identified one way, then they should seek counseling because they have deeper issues.

  3. Vanessa in California says:

    This is getting ridiculous. Do people need a DNA test to tell them whether or not they have the Y chromosome? You’re either a male or a female. Even that extremely rare person who is born with both genitals has a single genetic gender (which they identify with 99.9999% of the time).

    Transgender is a polite way to describe people with a serious mental disorder. We shouldn’t embrace it. We should study that disorder and make sure that it is properly treated through therapy.

    • john says:

      No major health organization in the US, Canada nor most of Europe views gender dysphoria as a mark of mental illness but thanks for making the world just a bit more closed-minded for people who are different.

      • Marco says:

        Well said John. There are too many ignorant people that have no idea what an actual transgender person is. Vanessa, you are completely wrong, many transgender people have no mental illness. It’s ludicrous for you to say otherwise. Read up a little and learn.

  4. EngineerEagan says:

    In English the word would be “it”. This is silly, the world has larger problems than someone who gets their feelings hurt or offended by everything.

  5. EngineerEagan says:

    Sweden lost their balls before WWII, and they should just have a feminine gender only.

  6. Leah says:

    I think we’ve needed a gender neutral pronoun for a long time and it has nothing to do with LGBT. I think the LGBT will grow against the pronoun, honestly. Transgender want to be considered the gender they believe they are between the ears so being called a hen would be an insult to them. The same could be said for Lesbians and Gays.

    Anyway, I think we’ve needed a gender neutral pronoun so we can use it instead of saying “He or she” “s/he” “they” or whatever we use when we want to discuss one person of unspecified gender (ex. When one goes to the store he or she will use his or her reward card).

  7. Georgia says:

    No argument there needs to be a gender neutral word to replace he/she, they, or those transitioning, however why can’t we find an international word that would meet the definition. The late night comedians will have a field day with hen here in the states where the definition of hen is a female bird or female of various mostly aquatic animals (as lobsters or fish)according to Merriam-Webster, or slang for fussy middle age woman. A word that unites and is dignified is needed. Sorry, I’m not trying to hen-peck.

  8. Rick says:

    //The gender-neutral pronoun hen can be used when the gender of the person is not known or when the sex of an individual is not important.//

    Why is it so important to develop a pronoun to identify something so unimportant?

    • ronnie says:

      freak freak

    • Nick says:

      Bam, as the microphone drops and Rick walks away stating the most important thing the fin world seems to ignore or undermine

    • Joshua says:

      Let’s say in a business setting, you are writing a document or procedure that others will follow. You don’t want to assign a gender to the person who is following along, as there will be both males and females reading it. It sometimes gets cumbersome to put things like “they” in every time you are referring to one person. It might be useful to have one short word that means either he or she.

  9. Emily says:

    We have gender neutral pronouns in English too, and they are already being adopted in Canada. It is only a matter of time before such a concept becomes a generally accepted practice. A good thing, I think. It speaks to greater acceptance and diversity, even if the notion might not catch on permanently.

    “xe, xem, and xyr.”


  10. A.D.Way says:

    Give it up. Male or Female. Hen no way.
    How about Human.

  11. Yurgen says:

    “Hen” is already a slur, here in Sweden. Kids are call each other “Hen” to demean them.

  12. Nick says:

    This is just another way a liberal activist group can figure a way to make something that shouldn’t be, be. If they stopped and thought it through unbiased they would see. So, that’s not going to happen though so what’s next, are they going to adopt a transgender Jesus???

  13. RK Sefton says:

    How about the pronoun we already use, “it.” It can be used in the expression, “how does it feel?”

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