Swedish Dictionaries Will Now Include a Gender-Neutral Pronoun

The SAOL, otherwise known as the official dictionary of Sweden, will add a gender-neutral pronoun to its newest edition, according to The GuardianIn the Swedish language, the word "hon" means "he" and the word "han" means "she." The two will now be joined by the new gender-neutral pronoun, "hen." 


If you're traveling to Sweden anytime soon, you can refer to someone as "hen" if you don't want to reveal someone's gender, either because their gender is unknown, because the person in question is transgender or if you (as a speaker or a writer) think that their gender is irrelevant to the conversation at hand. 

According to The Guardian, the word has already been used in court rulings, official texts, and media texts and books. To find it in the official dictionary, you'll have to wait a few more weeks until the newest edition is available in stores. 

The new edition of the dictionary will also remove offensive racist terms like "neger" (negro) and "zigenare" (gypsy) and will offer alternatives in their places. For example, instead of "zigenare," the new dictionary suggests that readers use the word "rom" (roamer) instead. According to The LocalSwedish dictionaries have listed which words were considered offensive in the Swedish language in the past, but this is the first time that the dictionary will suggest more neutral alternatives to those offensive terms.