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Re: a question about names

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Thursday, September 30, 2004, 2:30
On Wed, Sep 29, 2004 at 09:12:42PM -0400, Etak wrote:
> Hello! > Tarnese, my conlang, has no gender at all, which seems > to work quite well at first glance. I've just realized > though, that there is no distinction between whether > something written, or said, in the third person refers to a > man or a woman.
Great! Why should there be such a distinction?
> Could you please give me some suggestions as to how I might fix this problem?
I don't see it as a problem at all. Such a distinction only serves a practical purpose when, for example, a man is talking to a woman and you wish to indicate which of the pair is speaking; but even languages with gender-specific pronouns, like English, still have that problem when two men or two women are speaking. Klingon has no gender distinctions either. Among natlangs, I'm given to understand that the Mandarin 3rd-person singular pronoun used to be genderless, but modern Mandarin (under Western influence, I presume) has introduced a specifically-female version while continuing to use the genderless to refer to males - which seems a step backwards sexual-equity-wise, IMHO.
> P.S. My Latin-English dictionary has a grammar overveiw in > the back of it, and I noticed yesterday that there are no > third-person nominative personal pronouns. Why is this?
Because Classical Latin had no third-person nominative personal pronouns. :) The demonstratives served the purpose; you said "this one" or "that one" instead of "he" or "she". Of course, Latin has nominal gender, and the demonstratives agree in number with the demonstratee, so Latin actually has more ways to disambiguate among multiple nouns than most languages (three different demonstratives, each of which can take any of the three different genders). -Marcos


John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Elliott Lash <erelion12@...>Old Nindic to Classical Modern Nindic
Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>3rd person pronouns (was: a question about names)