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Gender-Switch - Japanese, Mandarin

From:Emily Zilch <emily0@...>
Date:Thursday, June 10, 2004, 18:07
{ 20040610,0751 Douglas Koller } "Mandarin? Mandarin doesn't have
grammatical gender. Perhaps the author meant Japanese? It was mentioned
on this list maaaaaaany many moons ago that high school girls may use
the very butch-sounding first person pronoun "ore" and other types of
masculine-sounding speech in informal conversation amongst themselves.
Personally, I never heard it, but then, I didn't hang with high school

As for Japanese, the use of masculine pronouns - boku, ore, etc. - is a
fact. *I've* heard it in R/L, movies, etc. As for gender inversion
practices outside of women refusing to play girlie, I can't say. Maybe
someone on this list is a speaker? Tobin only writes that in Japanese,
as in many Arabic 'dialects', there is conscious use of masculine forms
by women to bootstrap themselves into equal psychological footing with
males in public situations. Schools are the most common places where
the fledgling societal member is likely to use controversial and
challenging forms in modern societies and this kind of speech is common
around games, sports etc. in the studies she cites.

But the author was speaking about the use of specifically masculine
terms for women in Mandarin (which I speak, having studied at Beijing U
for a semester). The article mentions the use of ge1 "elder brother"
and the related use of ge1menr, a kind of pluralisation/"group of"
brothers, in a similar vein to the English use of "guys". This latter
form is more a generalisation of the masculine plural into an epicene
form for a group of people, although as a native English speaker I
distinctly recall having conversations about whether we should call
each other "guys" when we weren't guys back when I was in high school.

I'm not sure. We weren't in a position to have informal conversation
with women who might call each other ge1 (more likely ge1r) - the
government was pretty restrictive and I had other things on my mind at
the time.