Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ    Attic   

Re: Nauradi

From:Scotto Hlad <scott.hlad@...>
Date:Sunday, November 23, 2008, 23:27
OK, now you've got my brain really percolating and making me wonder if I
shouldn't remove the gender marking. As that is the only difference between
animate and inanimate nouns, there is a case for removing the
differentiation  between animate and inanimate as well. So now I'm thinking
that only 1 personal pronoun would be necessary.

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

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." Looking at
that one could say that my sentences are not "formal" English and that is
true. But if sex-marking is gone, how do you say, "The man is now a woman."
How would you deal with Genesis 1:1? Would this mean that society in general
would be oblivious to sex, there would be no childhood realization: "I'm a
(Fascinating thoughts!)

-----Original Message-----
From: Constructed Languages List [] On
Behalf Of Alex Fink
Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2008 3:26 PM
Subject: Re: FW: Nauradi

On Sun, 23 Nov 2008 14:30:14 -0700, Scotto Hlad <scott.hlad@...>

>I'm thinking then that as the anatomical sex endings are only used when it >is necessary to differentiate gender that there should be only an animate >and inanimate personal pronoun and when differentiation is necessary, the >same male/female suffix could be added. Are there any natlangs that
>this way?
I second this call for ANADEW. Among conlangs it seems to be very prevalent that languages profess not to mark the masculine / feminine distinction, but then in the pronoun system there's a masculine and a feminine suffix that can be added in case disambiguation is necessary, or in case the speakers for some reason want to make a person's sex known. Among the natlangs I can think of, though, this doesn't happen. Mostly not marking for gender means, across the board, not marking for gender; sometimes instead the pronouns will show an extra gender distinction, but that will be obligatory. If one regards English as having singular "they", then perhaps it's a case where there are contrastive genderless / masculine / feminine pronouns, but still "they" is the marked member of the opposition, and I don't think anyone can use it completely freely, e.g. with definite antecedents of a specified sex: *"[My mother_i] broke their_i hip yesterday". But I can't think of any case with a genderless / masculine / feminine system where the genderless term is the unmarked one. (Frankly, seeing this in conlangs kinda gives me the impression that the author doesn't want the English masculine/feminine distinction but can't quite stomach giving it up. No reason to let this deter you, of course; it's your lang.) Alex


Amanda Babcock Furrow <langs@...>