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Zauriel
15-04-05, 16:11
Are the languages obsolete and sexist? And should they be modified?

French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic and Romanian are gendered languages that assign genders to pronouns, nouns, verbs, adjectives and articles. English also uses gendered nouns: actor/actress, etc. English pronouns encode gender, as well. French, Spanish, Italian and Romanian fall under a category called Romance languages.

I donft consider these languages sexist but I find them very obsolete and clumsy to use. How will you assign a gender to an asexual, a transsexual or a hermaphrodite? How will you assign a gender to a stranger that hides their gender?

Remember the Star Trek: Enterprise episode gCogenitorh? That introduces us to a three-sexed race. What if there is a species that has a third gender? If we bi-gendered humans were to meet a tri-gendered alien race or a mono-gendered one, what gender will you apply to them?

French definite articles of gtheh
Le- masculine
La- feminine

Spanish definite articles of gtheh
El- masculine
La- feminine

Italian definite articles of gtheh
Il- masculine
La- feminine

German definite articles of gtheh
Der- masculine
Die- feminine
Das- neuter

There are a few genderless languages such as Tagalog.

In Tagalog, pronouns and nouns, even of family do not encode gender.

Siya- he/she/it

Tagalog- English
Bata- child/boy/girl
Kapatid- sibling/brother/sister
Anak- child/son/daughter
Pinsan- male cousin/female cousin
Asawa- spouse/husband/wife
Pamangki-nephew/niece

In order to specify the individualfs gender, you simply say anak na lalaki (son) or anak na babae (daughter). In Tagalog, lalaki means male and babae means female.

However, Tagalog does have gendered nouns like Kuya (older brother) and Ate (older sister). Both of them are similar to Japanese titles of "onii-chan" and "Onee-san". Like English and Romance languages, Tagalog also uses gendered titles such as ginoo (sir) and ginang (ma'am).

However, Japanese honorifics are genderless. -san, -sama, -senpai and -sensei apply to both males and females.

English honorifics:
Mister
Mrs.
Miss
Ms.

French honorifics:
Monsieur (male)
Madamesoille (non-married female)
Madame (married female)

Spanish honorifics:
Senor
Senorita (non-married female)
Senora (married female)

Italian honorifics:
Signor
Signorita (non-married female)
Signora (married female)

German honorifics:
Herr
Frau
Fraulein

Maciamo
15-04-05, 16:50
Did you get that idea from the US concept of political correctness ? IN Spanish and Italian, gender is only a matter of sonority. Words and names ending in "o" are masculine, while words and names ending in "a" are feminine ("e" is case by case). Genders in French are the same as in Italian or Spanish, but the sonority has been lost with the pronuciation change. Don't know how German attributed gender to words originally.

Mycernius
15-04-05, 17:40
What a strange idea, to make gender specfic language PC. There are native American and Australian languages whose verbs and nouns change depending whether you are male or female and the gender and relationship of the person you are talking to. I doubt if many French, Spanish or German people think that their language is sexist, it is just the way that the language has evolved over the years. In fact nobody did until the PC brigade turned up with their silly little rules. Self rightous language fascists as far as I'm concerned. :-) You might gather I am not fond of the PC brigade :wave:

Maciamo
16-04-05, 01:57
There are native American and Australian languages whose verbs and nouns change depending whether you are male or female and the gender and relationship of the person you are talking to.

In Japanese even the personal pronouns "I" in English (watashi, boku, ore, atashi, washi...) changes depending on the speakers' gender, age and status.
Other particles at the end of the sentence (eg. wa, no, nano, noka, nanda...) also indicate the speaker's gender (or effeminity/manliness).


I doubt if many French, Spanish or German people think that their language is sexist, it is just the way that the language has evolved over the years.

Naturally they don't. I would also be impossible to change the gender without changing every words. What's more some words that are written and pronounced the same way have a completely different meaning depending if they masculine of feminine.

Wang
16-04-05, 02:06
I am against assigning gender to words such as: ships, countries, planets etcetera. It should be neutral. IT. Only for living creatures should gendered nouns be used in my opinion.

Maciamo
16-04-05, 02:56
I am against assigning gender to words such as: ships, countries, planets etcetera. It should be neutral. IT. Only for living creatures should gendered nouns be used in my opinion.

Apparently you don't understand that these assigned genders ar only for grammatical and phonetic purposes. No French, Italian or German speaker think that an object or concept is really male or female. It's just a way of describing the 2 or 3 different categories of words. I could have been called the red words and blue words, or the soft words and har words, or the A words and B words, or whatever instead of "masculine" and "feminine". If your language doesn't have gender for all words it will probably be difficult for you to understand.

Wang
16-04-05, 14:37
I still don't like it at all. Anything except calling it "masculine" and "feminine" is good, so yes I would prefer calling words A or B or anything else instead. Ofcourse the best is not having gender for words except for living creatures in my opinion. That is why I like Japanese language, Chinese, Hakka because it has no gender for nouns etc.

bossel
16-04-05, 20:33
Found a quite good article on that issue:

Against the Theory of "Sexist Language" (http://www.friesian.com/language.htm)

Quote:
"In the end, gender, in any language, is just an expression of the affinity of our understanding for logical divisons and hierarchies; and since logical divisions and hierarchies are essential to thought, the principle of eradicating gender (or "hierarchy") is absurd. Even if the feminine gender is usually more "marked" than the masculine, this can really mean anything, depending, indeed, on what we intend to mean. Instead of gender systems compelling patriarchy or, obviously, matriarchy, the whole idea of sexual equality was conceived in languages (English, French, German) with strong or remnant gender structures, while other languages with gender structures (Sanskrit, Arabic, Swahili) or without (Persian, Chinese, Malay) produced nothing of the sort. Serious intellectual dispute on any issue always must focus on what the speaker means by what is said, not on theories about how it is said compels certain unintended meanings, especially when such theories are clearly mere features of certain political and ideological systems of interpretation."


Grammatical gender in a language doesn't make it sexist.
Lack of grammatical gender in a language doesn't prevent use of this particular language in sexist ways.

Lina Inverse
16-04-05, 21:44
Well, I think articles and gendered words are totally antiquated and don't belong into our time anymore. TThere's no good reason for using articles anymore, and gendered words should be replaced by gender-neutral ones - if neccessary, one could use a prefix or something for male/female.


However, Japanese honorifics are genderless. -san, -sama, -senpai and -sensei apply to both males and females.
The traditionally gendered words are becoming more diffuse nowadays in Japanese. I've already heard boku/kimi (normally male speech) being used by girls several times - normal girls, not ones that were very boyish.
Likewise, I've already heard the suffix -kun (normally male equivalent to -chan) being used for girls as well.