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Re: Another question: genders

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Saturday, August 12, 2000, 16:50
At 9:03 am -0400 11/8/00, John Cowan wrote:
>On Fri, 11 Aug 2000, Thomas R. Wier wrote: > >> Nik Taylor wrote: >> >> > Padraic Brown wrote: >> > > Just poking my head in: what negative connotations does ambivalent >> > > have for you? >> > >> > To me, it connotes things like "indecisive", "wishy-washy", etc., but, >> > perhaps that's just a personal feeling? >> >> It *can* have those connotations, yes. > >Which is a pity, because it leaves no word left to do the original >work of "ambivalent", namely "having strong feelings in two opposing >directions at the same time." "Odi et amo", *that* is (or was) ambivalence.
That certainly was the original meaning (and many would say still is the proper meaning) of ambivalent. Certainly "wishy-washy" is about the last adjective one would think off in describing Catullus' feelings towards Lesbia! At first it was passionate love - then, when this elegiac couplet was written it was passionate love & passionate hatred at the same time - and neither passion was indecisive. He would've wished it otherwise but, as he said, it was like being wracked on a cross (a sight not unfamilar to Romans). Yep - ambivalence properly denotes the co-existence in one person of two opposing attitudes to the same object. I guess if one is using 'natural' gender in one's conlang and one has a gender labeled "ambivalent" it would denote a person who exhibited both strong feminine emotions and also strong masculine emotions - which, of course, begs the questions as to what really are feminine as opposed to masculine emotions and vice versa. Maybe 'ambivalent' is not such a good word to denote a gender because of its original (and still used) positive meaning. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================