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Re: Umlauts (was Re: Elves and Ill Bethisad)

From:Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Date:Monday, November 3, 2003, 11:36
Quoting JS Bangs <jaspax@...>:

> Andreas Johansson sikyal: > > > Quoting Chris Bates <christopher.bates@...>: > > > > > There was an interesting study i read about somewhere, where they took > > > the same words (eg bridge) and translated it into lots of different > > > languages which all had grammatical (masculine/femine) gender, but which > > > didn't necessarily assign the same gender to it. So for instance: > > > [snip] > > > > I too saw an article about that. The authors took for granted that it was > a > > case of preconceived notions about what is masculine and feminine > "colouring" > > the perception of things that only happen to have one or another gender > > randomly assigned to it, but I'm not entirely happy about that conclusion. > > Surely there must have been _some_ grounds for the gender assignments, > > originally, no matter who random they may look after millennia of > semantic, > > societal and technological change. > > Yes, but whose to say that the original gender categories had anything to > do with gender? I mean, of the innumerable "gender" systems in the world, > only a few fit the IE-style masc/fem/neut, and in any more complex system > it doesn't make any sense to even ask this question. > > Gender categories can grow out of phonological systems or any number of > other things, and in these cases it doesn't really make any sense to talk > about what properties of the bridge made it be called "masculine" or > "feminine". > > > And _new_ words in languages with grammatical gender are often assigned > gender > > for analyzable reasons - my German grammar even has a section on how to > > predict the gender of new loans. > > Yes, but those analyzable reasons usually have a lot to do with phonology.
I think you've been reading something into my post I didn't intend to put there - at any rate, I cannot see that your comments in any way detracts from what I was saying. Andreas