The UK is obsessed with honorifics.
Remember, this is the land of barons, earls, ladies, sirs and the ultimate, HRH — “Her Royal Highness.” But even if you can’t claim HRH, selecting “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or “Miss” is a standard part of filling out many forms and documents.
Very often, these titles are gendered. But what if you don’t identify with either gender? Or what if you don’t want to reveal your marital status?
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Each week on The World in Words, Patrick Cox and Nina Porzucki tell stories about languages and the people who speak them.
Some folks are trying to ensure that you don’t have to be a doctor or a reverend to claim a gender-neutral title.
This week on the podcast, we take a look at the campaign for the gender-neutral honorific “Mx.” in the UK. Where does the honorific come from? And how has language and gender been debated in the UK since the days of Shakespeare?
This is the first episode in a three-part series exploring language and gender, “From ‘Mx.’ to ‘hen’: When ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ words aren’t enough.” Additionally, for this series, we teamed up with Across Woman’s Lives for more in-depth stories about language and gender around the globe.