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

On Wed, Oct 22, 2003 at 10:54:24PM -0500, Ron Johnson wrote:
> Being a native speaker of American, I've always wondered
> - What is the purpose of "gender" in grammar/language?

Argh, this does my head in too. Especially when you come across things
like all the words for female genitals in lots of languages having the
masculine gender. Work that one out.

Also, what do the advocates of "gender-neutral" language do in German?
And what do they do in French?

> - Is it only the European/Latinate languages that have the gender
>   concept?

No, it's all over the shop. I think there are one or two languages
that are notable for not having it even for men and women, but AFAIK
the vast majority do have it.

> - Why English doesn't have gender, since it's predecessor, German,
>   does have gender?

Because we've got enough sense to realise that girls aren't neuter. :-)


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