Sweden Adds Gender-Neutral Pronoun 'Hen' To Dictionary


The Swedish language regulator announced yesterday that the gender-neutral pronoun ‘hen’ will be included in the next edition of the official Swedish dictionary.


‘Hen’ will feature alongside ‘han’ (he) and ‘hon’ (she) in the new edition of the Svenska Akademiens ordlista. According to the definition, the pronoun can be used to refer to a trans person or someone whose gender is irrelevant or unknown, similarly to ‘they’ and ‘zhe’ in English.

“For those who use the pronoun, it’s obviously a strength that it is now in the dictionary,” an editor at the Swedish Academy, Sture Berg, told AFP.

The term was first coined in the 1960s, however it wasn’t until around the year 2000 that the Swedish trans and agender communities, among others, started using the word. Since then, the pronoun has grown in popularity and can be seen in official documents and text books.

‘Hen’ is just one of 13,000 new additions to the dictionary.

The Svenska Akademiens ordlista, or SAOL, goes on sale on April 15.


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