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Old 2009-01-22, 22:52   #7
cheesehead's Avatar
"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA

22·3·641 Posts

Though by "languages" I meant only "natural languages", your point is well-taken. However, I'd bet that the "(s)" suffix preceded the electronic computer era, and could be found in the text of many pre-computer governmental regulations and laws, or legal documents in general.

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IMO "s/he" and "policeperson" (and "waitron") are all firmly in the tradition of handy contractions devised to save time/space time and space in natural language expressions.

The association of such neologisms with political correctness is simply due to the fact that explicit statement of previously excluded or ignored alternatives necessarily involves longer words or word strings, and thus prompts invention of contractions or collective nouns.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2009-01-22 at 22:59
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