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Re: Nauradi

From:Amanda Babcock Furrow <langs@...>
Date:Monday, November 24, 2008, 0:51
On Sun, Nov 23, 2008 at 04:27:30PM -0700, Scotto Hlad wrote:

> But I'm really wondering if differentiation between male and female is so > inherent in the human existence that we still need to know the difference. > It seems that we do need specialized words in some cases. I can't think of a > language that doesn't have a unique word for cow and bull as historically > speaking they held such important and unique positions in agrarian > societies.
I don't see any reason why a language can't have a word for "man" and a word for "woman", while having no grammatical gender and no sex-specific pronouns. Before Japanese added "kanojo" for "she" in imitation of European languages, it had no third-person gendered pronouns (an argument could be made that the first-person pronouns and some of the second-person pronouns are gendered, however!) Yet it still had the words "onna" and "otoko". Likewise for other important-to-humans species. Are you perhaps wedded to the idea that "man" and "woman" be expressed as "person (m.)" and "person (f.)"? If this is a favorite feature of Nauradi, then maybe it is more in keeping with the language's ethos to keep the male and female suffixes.
> As far as the possibility of not sex marking at all, how would a > non-sex-marking language deal with the situation of someone having sex > reassignment surgery? "He is now a she." Or "She is now a he."
"The man is now a woman" - would you really say "X is now a she" rather than "is now a woman?" It's a marked usage in English, using the pronoun as a noun. Now, if a language had not only no grammatical sex-related gender, but also had no *nouns* for "man", "woman", "boy", "girl", "cow", and "bull", that would be interesting indeed - practically speaking, it would have to reflect a society where men and women fulfilled the same roles in daily life (and where cows and bulls did as well! Maybe a hunter-gatherer society?). At some point there would have to be words. "Person with [genital type A]", maybe :) tylakèhlpë'fö, Amanda


Scotto Hlad <scott.hlad@...>