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Sweden ratifies gender-neutral pronoun

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Sweden has invented a gender-neutral pronoun to neuter awkward moments when the gender of a third party isn’t known.

In English ‘they’ or ‘their’ is often used, but raises its own problems as it also suggests a plural.

The Swedish innovation — ‘hen’ — is useful in other situations, such as referring to a transgender person, or when the gender is not important or should be kept hidden.

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The word has been in sporadic usage in Sweden since the 1960s but enjoyed a resurgence over the past two years and has been officially recognised by the Swedish Academy, Quartz reports.

Swedish words for he and she are han and hon.

The academy will put hen and another 13,000 new words into an updated dictionary on April 15.

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