Kirby Conrod

I got my PhD in linguistics, which is the scientific study of how languages go together and how humans use them.

Much of my work focuses on pronouns. Pronouns are words that replace names so we don't have to say the same thing over and over. Most of my previous research has been about the English pronouns he, she, and they. Below I have a section that explains my thesis, as well as sections for public talks, blogs, podcasts, and other stuff that I've done.

Blogs and writing

I use my medium blog for two purposes: one is a public-facing blog for writing about pronouns as well as other issues in my life. The other is as a way for "debriefing" after I go to academic conferences; I'll exclude those links here, but they're included in my research page.

Posts about pronouns:

Posts about other things:

In the news

Podcast guest spots

For some reason people love to have me as a guest on podcasts. I also love it! If you want me to be a guest on your podcast to talk about trans stuff, pronoun stuff, or academia stuff, please do contact me!

  • They/Them/Theirs is episode 14 of The Vocal Fries, a podcast about linguistic discrimination.
  • I was a guest on Episode 13 of Gender Reveal, a podcast about transgender and nonbinary issues.
  • I was a guest on Pronoun Power of Call Your Girlfriend, a podcast about pop culture, politics, and friendship.
  • I was a guest on Episode 43 of Lingthusiasm, a podcast about being enthusiastic about linguistics!


  • Public talks

    Included here are public lectures and webinars and such. If you'd like me to speak at your organization, please contact me.

    • I was a member on the panel for the LSA Webinar on LGBTQ+ Perspectives in Linguistics, a video recording of which is available here. Tyler says he mostly forgives me for going SO long over time.
    • I gave public lecture about how pronouns are used for social goals, called Formalizing Pronouns at the Calgary Public Library. The event was open to the public; slides are here.
    • I gave a talk in the Inspirational Speakers series for the University of Kent, called How to do things with gender

    Pronouns Raising and Emerging

    keywords: pragmatics; pronouns; sociolinguistics; syntax; transgender

    Advisors: Barbara Citko and Alicia Beckford Wassink

    On UW Linguistics website | On Proquest

    Simple-writing versions of chapters

    This section is under construction; I'm working on rewriting sections of my dissertation using the simple writing tool. Links will be added here as I finish them; some chapters will be excluded because they deal exclusively with very heavy theory or mostly just rehash older work.

    • Chapter 2 (in progress)
    • Chapter 3: THEY-ONE is changing over time. You can use they to mean a single person, and that's part of language change that is happening right now.
    • Chapter 4 (in progress)