Political correctness (was: Have a Happy Austral Solstice)
|From:||Luís Henrique <luisb@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, December 28, 2000, 20:39|
>Carlos Eugenio Thompson Pinzón wrote:
>BTW, how politically correct are our languages or language >speakers, orhow eufemistic can the become?
Well, I hope I'm not missing some initiatory ritual. Here I go.
In my art world (in its very begginings by now), there is a complicated
question about the name of a sacred book in a foreign language. The people
that the Banin call "Jarghites" worship a book (a Book, it should be) of
the same name (Jargh, literally "Book"). They have a patriarcal culture.
The Banin language has grammatical gender as an important concept; indeed,
it has more semanthical importance than in natural languages that I heard
of. The genders are two, which could be called masculine/feminine (the Banin
grammaticians never do such; they call them mixed/pure genders). All Banin
nouns have the two forms, but only for animals and people they have the
male/female meaning; for inanimated things they have other meanings. For
objects, precisely, they mark a artificial/natural distinction. Now if the
Banins would have a noun in their language for the (book) Jargh, it would
be necessarily insultuous tho the Jarghites beliefs; if it was "pure" gender,
it would mean associating the sacred book with the feminine sex, inacceptable
because Jarghites think women are unholy; and if it was "mixed" gender,
it would imply the Jargh was written, which is inacceptable because they
believe the sacred book is eternal (somehow like the Khoran).
Not that this is a great problem, because Banins and Jarghites are quite
fond of insulting each others, but...
For those who count the time by the supposed birth of Jesus bar Joseph,
a happy new millenium...
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