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Re: Bits from the WNPP: RFH tag

On Wed, Aug 04, 2004 at 01:02:47AM +1000, Paul Hampson wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 03, 2004 at 03:21:45PM +1000, Ben Burton wrote:
> > 
> > > > It's not much of a justification -- it basically amounts to "my way is
> > > > right" followed by a personal insult to anyone who disagrees.
> > > 
> > > Hmm. I feel you may not have read the first two paragraphs of that, and
> > > have only responded to the last.
> > 
> > The first paragraph begins by asserting the author's arrogance, and then
> > states that "he" is the singular indefinite pronoun in English (and that
> > "he" is also the masculine personal pronoun).  This basically amounts to
> > "my way is right", with no further referencing, reasoning or historical
> > context.
> > 
> > The second paragraph discusses the use of "she", which is a different
> > issue entirely.
> > 
> > All this author is really doing is restating the question using longer
> > words.  And even this is done badly; the question should not only be
> > whether "he" can operate in a gender-neutral context, but also whether
> > or not there are reasonable alternatives.
> Fair point, it's not in itself a justification, but rather an
> alternative opinion.
> Googling for 'he indefinite gender pronoun' produced interesting
> arguments to support all of using the singular masculine, the plural
> indefinite, and a nice list of various gender neutral pronouns that've
> appeared on the Internet to solve this situation.
> Googling for 'he indefinate gender pronoun' produced interesting
> arguments that grammarians aren't necessarily good spellers. >_<
> Maybe it'd be easiest for all Debian documentation to be written in
> a language with either grammatical or no gender, rather than dealing
> with English's cobbled-together natural gender system. ^_^

I propose that we use Thai, instead (where the gender for many things,
including 'politeness' constructs, is assigned based on that of the
speaker, rather than that of the listener or subject).

This leads to fascinating bits of English such as that heard last fall,
while visiting the country: "Yes ma'am, thank you sir" (a male speaking
to a female, who mapped the addressed party's gender correctly, but
reflexively applied his own gender to the English politeness construct).
Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org>                                        ,''`.
Debian GNU/kNetBSD(i386) porter                                      : :' :
                                                                     `. `'
http://nienna.lightbearer.com/                                         `-

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