LINGUIST List 7.573

Wed Apr 17 1996

Disc: Grammatical Gender

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <dizdartam2000.tamu.edu>


Directory

  1. Hartmut Haberland, Re: 7.564, Disc: Grammatical Gender
  2. Bill Holowacz, Disc: Grammatical Gender
  3. Waruno Mahdi, Re: 7.564, Disc: Grammatical Gender (correction)

Message 1: Re: 7.564, Disc: Grammatical Gender

Date: Tue, 16 Apr 1996 16:58:52 +0200
From: Hartmut Haberland <hartmutruc.dk>
Subject: Re: 7.564, Disc: Grammatical Gender
Alexis asks,

"I would love to know if Mr. Witty can find even a single example of a
basic (i.e., not a derived diminutive) noun in German which is neuter
and which refers to a class of human beings containing adult men and
women equally ..."

Well, I can: what about das Opfer? Admittedly, das Kind is not a noun
that refers to a class of human beings containing men and women
equally (although it's basic), but what about das Geburtstagskind?
(Danish has a few more of them: not only offer 'victim' is neuter, but
also gidsel 'hostage' and postbud 'postperson :-)' - and this is
really an overkill since Danish has no masculine/feminine distinction
anymore!)

This is no comment on Alexis' remarks otherwise - these words might
still be exceptions - but at least German is not as rigid as he
assumes.

A noun that is feminine in German and that denotes a class of human
beings containing adult men and women equally (or refers to its
members) is Person.

Hartmut Haberland
hartmutruc.dk
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Message 2: Disc: Grammatical Gender

Date: Tue, 16 Apr 1996 22:19:56 BST
From: Bill Holowacz <billsoftdom.com>
Subject: Disc: Grammatical Gender

	At the risk of taking a very simplistic position on the
grammatical gender discussion, I'd like to repeat something which I
think everyone heard at least one in their linguistic studies:
grammatical gender is ARBITRARY. The terminology which descibes
language is ARBITRARY.
	There is nothing as beautiful as language. Instead of undoing
what has taken thousands of evolution to produce in the name of
"political correctness," why not change the terminology? Instead of
the labels of masculin, feminin and neuter, why not group a,b and c,
or 1,2,and 3. I really can't see how changing the "gender" of a few
nouns will substantially better of position of women in society. Why
don't you all direct your energy into something concrete and useful.
Bill

billsoftdom.com
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Message 3: Re: 7.564, Disc: Grammatical Gender (correction)

Date: Wed, 17 Apr 1996 11:54:16 +0200
From: Waruno Mahdi <warunoparadox.rz-berlin.mpg.de>
Subject: Re: 7.564, Disc: Grammatical Gender (correction)
Re: my comments on grammatical gender in (7-564):

> I'm not quite sure of the spelling: _dje'tjo_ (or is it _di'tjo_ ?)
> "child",

I've looked up, and the Russian word is correctly _di'tja_ "child", but
it is nevertheless neuter.... (sorry, Jurij).

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