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Gender (was: Láadan and woman's speak)

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Friday, May 26, 2000, 5:15
At 4:36 pm -0400 25/5/00, Nik Taylor wrote:
>Carlos Thompson wrote: >> Well. English has now-a-days and important classification system in its >> grammar: count and mass nouns. > >You could even go so far as to say that English has FOUR genders, but >very restricted in their effect, showing up only in determining the >"multitude adjective" and pronouns. They are: > >1. Masculine - uses "he" and "many" >2. Feminine - uses "she" and "many" >3. Neuter-Count - uses "it" and "many" >4. Neuter-Mass - uses "it" and "much"
Nick may be interested to know the traditional dialects of the Devonshire area of England do have a pronoun differences marking the four genders above. Neuter count nouns are referred to as 'he' [i:] (subj) and 'un' (<-- Old Eng. hine) (object), just like masculines; but neuter mass nouns use 'it' (unstressed: 't), e.g. Pass the loaf - he's over there. I like this bread - 'tis very tasty. But there is a difference between count nouns & masculines in the possessive forms; "his" is "he's" [i:z], but "its" is "of un", this: referring to John: he's book referring to a hammer: the handle of un The feminine sing. pronoun, BTW, is the invariable 'her', with silent 'h' and final 'r' pronounced the American way. Ray. PS - I'll be setting Conlang to nomail later today, so I'll probably not see any reply. Be back on 5th June. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================