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Re: Epicene & neuter (Was: Re: The meaning of "ilicom" (perhaps hungarian?))

From:Le cavallero <cavallero@...>
Date:Thursday, May 30, 2002, 21:25
> My conlang has a neuter gender and an epicene gender. The neuter is used > for all non-living things, abstract nouns, and genderless living things. > For gendered living things, the epicene is used when (1) the noun is a > collective noun that refers to both males/females (2) the gender of the > referent is unknown (3) the speaker is speaking in general terms and > wishes the statement to apply to both males and females. > > > T >
Nice. What I am doing - and why I at the moment prefer to call the gender "unspecified" rather than "epicene" - is to have a sing. 3rd person pronoun "ili" (probably accompanied by "ila" and "ilo" for fem./masc., and perhaps all of them having double L instead of single L, not quite sure yet), which can serve for - expressing neuter - referring to a person whose sex is unknown, perhaps because the person iliself is not known yet ("The applicant for this position... he/she must have the following skills...") - all usages of 3rd pers. sing., especially for learners from language backgrounds which do not have that distinction - just use "ili" for "he/she/it" and you are correct The second point is most important to me - in my native german, I sometimes have to deal with texts which legally require gender neutrality, which is a good thing IMHO, but not nice looking ("Der/die Bewerber(in) für diese Stelle... er/sie muss über die folgenden Qualifikationen verfügen"). I do not want such an uglyness in my conlang. Oh, and another thing: calling this construction a "gender" is probably not quite correct, because the lang does not really have grammatical gender, it is more an option to describe the sex of the person or animal referred to. Greetings Cavallero -- GMX - Die Kommunikationsplattform im Internet.