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Re: gender in English

From:Rik Roots <rikroots@...>
Date:Saturday, September 9, 2000, 1:40
> > > In Ajuk, one can have a lot of fun with this. Inanimite nouns have no > > > gender on their own, but they need to take one when being personified. > > > The lazy way is to make it neuter, but if I have Death, for example, I > > > can make it male to give the traditional English view, or I can make it > > > female, to show it, in this indirect way, as being much more > > > compassionate than the traditional view dictates. Neither is "right", or > > > "traditional", and you can even switch between the two in one story, as > > > a hint to the behavior of the noun in question. > > > > I like this feature. It is somewhat similar to how I used to use Gender in > > Telek, but I have since changed my mind. It didn't seem to fit the > > language right. > > > I'll have to see whether it works out as well as I'd like it to. Right > now Ajuk is still rather embryonic, I only have 300-odd words. I add > more every time I have the time to sit down and work on it, but that's > not too often, and I expect it will become less often, as I just started > the 11th grade yesterday. Oi. > > I decided Ajuk would give speakers a lot of freedom in certain areas, > and gender is one of them. There is an inanimate gender, but one can > give a gender to anything at any time if they so choose. >
That sounds very similar to the system of gender I used to have in my conlang, Gevey. Each word would have up to four genders (shown by the rather obvious suffixes of -o for masculine, -a for feminine, -e for neuter and -u for inanimate). That way, the same word could be used for up to four English words (eg bovo-bull, bova-heifer or cow, bove-ungendered cow, bovu-beef). In the end, I got very dissilusioned with the system. Instead, I have converted the system to represent something more esoteric: -uu, used for inactive objects (lacking any life or self will); -e, used for self-directing active objects (posessing some form of self will or desire to act and react); -a, representing the total possibilities of an objects (biological genotype, or an objects complete set of methods); and -o, representing the expressed, surface features of the object (biological phenotype, or an object's active methods) I'm still struggling to get the system working in my head (and adapting the Gevey culture to cope with a concept they feel so strongly about that they have coded it into the grammatical fabric of their language), but it has made the language a lot more interesting to me which is, in the end, the whole point of the exercise... Rik -- The Gevey Language Resource.