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
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.
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
[J.G. Hamann 1760]