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.
>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
- 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.
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