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Re: Bits from the WNPP: RFH tag

On Wed, Aug 04, 2004 at 01:35:09PM +0200, Bernhard R. Link wrote:
> * Ben Burton <bab@debian.org> [040804 02:09]:
> > Of course I maintain the original point, which is that using two
> > different roles for "they" is no more absurd than using two different
> > roles for "he".

> That might be true. Both are stupid viewed from the right direction.
> But "he" already has the meaning[1], while they would form an addition
> to the language. When we extend language, there is no reason to
> implement a proper solution like a totally new word. no use to overload
> already existing words and cause confusion.

> Btw: while we are at the topic. Are things like "developer" or "leader"
> gender neutral phrases in English or does one need things like in
> German? ("devleoperess" and "leaderess" sound funny, so I hope we
> don't have this problem. Or only for the German translations...)

Although I suspect the original set of nouns built from verbs which
refer to people who do those verbs traditionally takes -or/-er for
masculine and -ress for the feminine, new words are generally using
-or/-er but are not gender-specified. If I'm thinking clearly, that
means that the non-gender-specific -or/-er construction is the rule
and that the -or/-er/-ress gender distinction is now historical and

Although I can imagine my ex's face when I call her an accountress.

> [1]: As much as I dislike this discrimation of males by denying a
> pronoun only refering to them.

Well, as suggested earlier, 'she' is similarly (but distinctly)
overloaded too. So it's really just inanimate objects that get a
pronoun all to themselves, unless you choose to apply it to neuter
animate antecedants. I don't, I usually attempt to discover a
personal preference in any controversial cases before using either
personal pronoun. 'It' is so depersonifying. >_<

Paul "TBBle" Hampson, MCSE
7th year CompSci/Asian Studies student, ANU
The Boss, Bubblesworth Pty Ltd (ABN: 51 095 284 361)

"No survivors? Then where do the stories come from I wonder?"
-- Capt. Jack Sparrow, "Pirates of the Caribbean"

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