Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Gender-Switch - Japanese, Mandarin

From:David Peterson <thatbluecat@...>
Date:Friday, June 11, 2004, 7:11
Emily wrote:

<<Speaking of Gender-Switch, in some stage of Semitic (how early I'm not
sure but I'm pretty sure it was ONLY Semitic proper since the other
Boreafrasian langs like Ancient Egyptian don't have it) we have a new
pattern - the introduction of switching the gender on numerals. In
other words, masculine nouns take feminine-form numerals and

Oh, is *that* how it works!?   I wish they would've just told us that when I
was taking Arabic up at Berkeley.   They basically told us that using numbers
that way was too difficult, and so we didn't bother.   Same with colors.   I 
how to say, "I feel the loneliness of being in a foreign land", but I can't 
say, "The
red chair".   Huh.


<<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".>>

Indeed, it's happened again.   Something stunning about learning a language 
Spanish or French is the fact that you have to use a masculine pronoun when 
a thousand women you're referring to plus one rooster.   Yet, it happened in 
Only now it's truly gender-neutral.   Has there ever been a case of a 
feminine word
becoming gender neutral?   (I'm very near to making a pun about "mädchen".)   
It seems
like this could be the type of thing that a universalist might claim is a 
part of universal
grammar, but it seems to me it could be societal.   For example, if somehow 
the gender
roles were reversed, could English speakers all be saying "gals"?   And do 
languages that
don't distinguish gender at any level but the lexical level (i.e., there are 
words for "woman"
and "man", not just "person"), like Finnish and Hawaiian, do different 
things?   Or is that
getting too Sapir-Whorfy...?   (Whorfian?)   Strange stuff, man.

"sunly eleSkarez ygralleryf ydZZixelje je ox2mejze."
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

-Jim Morrison