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Gender in language (was Re: way-OT: regularity of german v. english [was: <snip>])

On Wed, 2003-10-22 at 20:47, Erik Steffl wrote:
> Nori Heikkinen wrote:
> > on Sun, 19 Oct 2003 12:38:45PM -0700, Erik Steffl insinuated:
> ...
> >>  of course, you can create various complex and ambiguous sentences in 
> >>english, the point is that you can take few forms of sentences and
> >>have a working language (that's pretty much what BASIC (talking
> >>about programming language) is).
> > 
> > you can do that in both languages.
>    let's say you have a function called isRed(x) (returns true if x is 
> red). Now how would you call this function in german? it would never be 
> in agreement with all possible x (grammatically). not sure if this is 
> the best example - perhaps in this case it would be acceptable to use 
> istRot, regardless of gender of x. point is you would run into problems 
> like this trying to use german, you would very rarely come up with 
> problems of this nature in english...

Being a native speaker of American, I've always wondered
- What is the purpose of "gender" in grammar/language?
- Is it only the European/Latinate languages that have the gender
- Why English doesn't have gender, since it's predecessor, German,
  does have gender?

Ron Johnson, Jr. ron.l.johnson@cox.net
Jefferson, LA USA

Causation does NOT equal correlation !!!!!!!!

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