The little words that mean a lot

Paterson, Laura L. (2024). The little words that mean a lot. In: Paterson, Laura L. ed. The Routledge Handbook of Pronouns. Routledge, pp. 1–4.



This chapter introduces the ethos behind the Handbook of Pronouns and sets out its structure. It argues that pronouns are more than merely small grammatical words that go relatively unnoticed in speech, signing, or writing; rather they are a significant component of how we as humans express our understanding of the world. Noting that much contemporary debate concerns links between pronouns and gender/identity, the chapter emphasises that pronoun research covers a much broader range of topics than this. Furthermore, there are many links between different areas of pronoun research, from their change over time to their acquisition and, of course, in their use, prescription, and processing. The chapter concludes by prompting readers to explore these connections and to use the handbook as a push off point for future research.

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