Hen — the debated Swedish pronoun

Swedish gender and pronouns

Kivi and the monster dog

Reactions to hen

  1. Those who felt that this was an attempt to linguistically eradicate male and female gender roles, perhaps highlighted by its use in a particular pre-school in Stockholm, something which sparked debate and controversy in Sweden and also received media attention internationally.
  2. Those who felt that there already existed functioning words like personen the person or vederbörande the person in question.
  3. Those who associated hen to the English word for a female bird. This argument is perhaps a little problematic, given many other Swedish words that mean something else in English (barn child, fart speed, bra good, prick dot, puss kiss, kiss urine, and so on).



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Anneli Haake

Anneli Haake

I help language teachers to become Language Teacher Rebels by teaching the steps to set up and market their teaching online.