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CHAT: gender of conlangers

From:Laurie Gerholz <milo@...>
Date:Saturday, September 26, 1998, 19:49
Baba wrote:
> > --- On Fri, 25 Sep 1998 14:20:40 -0300 Pablo Flores wrote
<snipped Baba's information on "brain sex", in response to Pablo's statements>
> > <throw cat among pigeons: await result> >
Thanks so much, Baba. This is exactly the kind of information I wanted to cite, but didn't really know where to start looking. It's what I was trying to get at when I said:
> ... remind everyone that whereas perhaps there is a > difference in the mean tendencies between the genders, there is also > usually much more difference *within* each gender than there is > between them.
This is also what I was trying to point out when I mentioned that even though women, in general, may have the more language-oriented brains, that our famous writers and orators are almost all men (until recently). The point being that yes, physiological tendencies exist in our brain structures, but that the cultural environment plays such an incredibly important role in which tendencies are ever realized in any particular individual. Someone else mentioned the idea that sometimes a person needs to be shown a possibility before they can follow up on it. They cited some woman who became a minister only after her own congregation minister mentioned it as a possibility. Prior to that, it apparently had just not entered her mind. My history in conlanging is similar. Unlike Sally, I only began conlanging as an adult. I was introduced to Tolkein's and Barker's work (high school and college), and was fascinated. But even though I had a fair grounding in foreign language (5 years of German in public school; a lot for an American of that age) I still didn't have the knowledge for it to occur to me that it would be possible for *me* to do it, or that I'd find it fun. During graduate school, fate took me into the Linguistics department (I was pursuing Artificial Intelligence in CS at the time). Around that same period, I had taken over ownership of a role-playing game campaign which my friends and I had begun in college. Thanks to my linguistics classes, suddenly I had the tools, and thanks to the game, suddenly I had a setting to play off of. I've been conlanging ever since, even though that campaign, as a game, is long over and I'm not currently pursuing formal study or work in AI. My point, after this ramble, is that I never exhibited stellar ability with language as a child. Good reader, yes, but not the assumed female-related language facility. It was purely aspects of experience and education which allowed me to connect with this fascinating pastime, education which I couldn't have dreamed of if I had been living, say, even fifty years earlier. What I'd really like to see (and who knows how long I'll have to wait), is what the distribution of activity tendencies between genders turns out to be once we have a base of a few generations where the educational opportunities are *truly* equal. Laurie --- Laurie Gerholz