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Re: Gender of the ancestors (was: Laádan and woman's speak)

From:DOUGLAS KOLLER <laokou@...>
Date:Tuesday, May 23, 2000, 5:19
Resending 'cause it seems to have been lost

> From: "John Cowan" > > > DOUGLAS KOLLER scripsit: > > > > And neither-nor languages. Chinese has "zu3guo2" (in Japanese
> > > referring to the ancestral land, or at the very least, the
> > > land. > > > > I thought zu2 meant male ancestor. > > None of my dictionaries cite etymological sources, but none of them cite > "zu3" as being intrinsically male (though China is certainly a patrilineal > society). The standard definitions go (I translate): 1) Direct relations
> one's mother and father in the previous generation (i.e. grandparents.
> like the English, it does not distinguish between patrilinear or > matrilinear, though in common parlance one would talk about "ye2ye" > (Grandpa) and "nai3nai" (Grandma) on the father's side, and "wai4gong1"
> "wai4po2" respectively on the mother's side). 2) The common name for
> who have died in historical times (i.e. ancestors). > > I feel it's epicene. That epicene words like "ren2" and "zu3" and "ta1"
> been historically interpreted as masculine (since males are the only ones > that count) is a historico-cultural (culturo-historical?) consideration,
> intrinsic to the words themselves. I defy you to find native speakers who > will commit to saying that "ren2" means "man", "zu3" means "male
> and "ta1" means "he". I personally find these even less gender-charged
> say, the English expression, "Man's inhumanity to Man." where "Man" refers > to greater humanity, both male and female. Sure, a Sui Dynasty reader may > have taken these terms to refer for the most part to males, since it would > be men writing predominately for men, but I don't find these terms any
> gender-fixed than the English word "analyst" (though our own biases may > place gender constraints on the term [or not]). So until someone can shove
> etymological dictionary in my face that says "_male_ ancestor", I'm
> with epicene. > > As for"zu3guo2", I've most often seen it translated into English as > "motherland", but I always assumed that that was Russian influence due to > the warm, fuzzy, communist brethren feeling supposed to exist between
> and the USSR back in the 40s and 50s. In and of itself, maybe "homeland"
> a better translation, though there are slightly different connotations in > English. (Vaterland vs. Heimat?). > > Kou >