Gender in language, belle or beau? : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

La plume de ma tante

est sur le bureau de mon oncle

le papier de mon oncle

est sur le bureau de ma tante


In English, there is no gender. A table is a table, it is neither masculine nor feminine. Sure, there are some exceptions---ships and other complex contraptions are often "she" (so named by men) but there is no general genderizing of nouns as there is in Romance languages.

Several questions occur to me.

1)-how many languages have gender IDs? Are Romance languages the exception or the rule? Do languages in Asia and Africa have gender? Do German, Russian and Arabic have gender?

2)-How did a pen (plume) become feminine and a paper (papier) become masculine. Etcetera all items of gender. Who decides these things? My wife and I occasionally played a game where we would pick a French word of unknown gender and try to guess if it was masculine or feminine. As I recall, we were correct more often than not. Is there an underlying universal here that we sensed bur could not define? (it can't be Freudian, or a pen would be masculine)

3)-What do militant feminists in France, Italy, etc think about gender? Are they offended that a bureau is masculine? Is that sexist?

Vive la difference!

-- (, July 11, 2002


Why is difference feminine?

Why is bain (bath) masculine?

Why is oreille (ear) feminine?

If a foreigner uses the incorrect gender in a genderized language, is it a big deal, a huge ho-ho?

-- (, July 11, 2002.

Yes! "Masculine" and "feminine" are extraordinarily sexist. Language must become androgynous. Indeed, entire nations must become androgynous.

It can be done! Progressive Norway has already devised a technique to produce androgynous polar bears.

You see things; and you say "Why?" But I dream things that never were; and I say "Why not?"

-- (Irma la Douce @, July 12, 2002.

Another clinker thread, Larsie.

-- (, July 12, 2002.

Never thought I'd agree with Roloboy. But he's right, better bag-it codgerbreath. Have you considered a trip to Oregon? ROTFL.

-- (euthanasia for old pugs @ Oregon's. scenic costline), July 12, 2002.

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