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Gender and Plants in Urasti:-- also; other semantic systems of gender assign

From:tomhchappell <tomhchappell@...>
Date:Thursday, July 21, 2005, 18:14
--- In, James Comer <jcomer2001@Y...> wrote:
> [snip] > In Urasti, anything which breathes has one gender, > and anything lacking > breath (nef) is soulless and has a different gender.
So, "Soul"="breath" (sort of), and "Animate"="souled"="breathing" (sort of), "Inanimate"="soulless"="unbreathing" (sort of)? These are good "Semantic cores" for the Animate and Inanimate genders. I suggested "ability to move under its own power and control"; but the "breathes" criterion is surely also a good one. How does Urasti regard the Internal Combustion Engine? Or, for that matter, Fire? They have to "breathe" (sort of) -- are they in the gender that mammals are in?
> Kind of like English > using "it" for plants and fish and using "he" for dogs or cats. > This also > has a religious component: the lost race of Masters, > the Aba, are called > "it"
Reasonable, for all I know.
> and so are members of the present-day religion which reveres them, > the Church of the True Form. This is a deliberate insult.
An insult. So the Church's members don't call one another "it".
> Just my two shekels' worth.
Thanks. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Another distinction that might be worth a gender is "sentient" vs. "non-sentient". Here, we have discussed Rational and NonRational (literally "able to reason", but we used "able to use language"), and Sapient and NonSapient (literally "capable of knowledge and wisdom", but we used "able to use language"). The distinction between the Sentient and the NonSentient would be that the Sentient is able to "sense" something about what's going on in the world outside it, and react in some way, even if the reaction is just a change in its "mental state". Thus in Experiencer/Stimulus clauses, the Experiencer /has/ to be Sentient. (Technically it might not have to be Animate.) A Sentient/Nonsentient distinction might be preferred by some conlang(s) (or even natlings, FAIK) to, or with, an Animate/Inanimate distinction. Example: An Animate Non-Sentient Entity; a self-propelled autopiloted machine that couldn't tell whether or not it was about to run over a child, puppy, or kitten. Example: A Sentient Inanimate Entity; an oyster (glued to its bed) able to feel fear. ----- What does anyone else think? ------ Thank you for writing, Tom H.C. in MI