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#148348 - 09/27/05 08:07 AM Re: 'manned/unmanned' and gender neutralisation
inselpeter Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/14/01
Posts: 2379
Loc: New York City
Bryan Garner gives eight solutions in Chapter 7 of "The Elements of Legal Style."


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#148349 - 09/27/05 02:10 PM Re: 'manned/unmanned' and gender neutralisation
belMarduk Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/28/00
Posts: 2888
I’m not thrilled about “staffed/unstaffed” because that implies that there should be more than one person sitting there and all of them were out. Staff represents a group of people.

I’d see staff being used in the case where somebody walked in to an office with several desks, and there was nobody around. Then saying the place was unstaffed would work.

Perhaps not politically correct, but I do not feel diminished in any way by the words manned or unmanned. It’s one of those words that, to me, does not specifically imply that the person was male, like the word mailman does.



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#148350 - 09/27/05 03:52 PM Re: 'manned/unmanned' and gender neutralisation
tsuwm Offline
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Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10508
Loc: this too shall pass
>It’s one of those words that, to me, does not specifically imply that the person was male, like the word mailman does.

boy(!), howdy -- that's an awfully narrow and sharp (not to say cheesy) distinction.


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#148351 - 09/27/05 10:04 PM Re: 'manned/unmanned' and gender neutralisation
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
In reply to:

Juliet

Come, civil night,
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black,
And learn me how to lose a winning match,
Played for a pair of stainless maidenhoods.
Hood my unmanned blood, bating in my cheeks,
With thy black mantle till strange love grow bold,
Think true love acted simple modesty.
Come, night; come, Romeo; come, thou day in night;
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Whiter than new snow upon a raven's back.

Unmanned here means untamed. Nice usage of the verb to learn, too.


I always assumed it referred to the fact that she was still a virgin, and all that messy stuff with bloodied sheets and such.


Bingley

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#148352 - 09/28/05 06:26 AM Re: 'manned/unmanned' and gender neutralisation
belligerentyouth Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Berlin
>It’s one of those words that, to me, does not specifically imply that the person was male, like the word mailman does.

>>boy(!), howdy -- that's an awfully narrow and sharp (not to say cheesy) distinction.

Well, I kind of understand the reasoning - this is where you come down to the crux of the matter. I mean, I personally don't think too much of gender neutral language if it ends up as clunky 'he/she' formations and no matter what people say about the plural pronouns being fine it does *not sound better than just using the singular male to me.
At least in this case too, there doesn't seem to be an obvious way around the problem. In other cases, I've heard of mixing pronouns, but it isn't very popular; certainly not in technical texts! I also read a book which used male phrasing throughout but commented in the introduction that this was in no way meant to discriminate against the other sex, but rather was chosen simply becuase it was simple. That approach worked in that case, I think. Be that as it may, anyone involved in writing publicised English texts has to grapple with genders whether they like it or not. I do wonder how things are managed in other languages. English certainly seems to be an exception in its thoroughness as far as I can tell, and a little hyper-PC compared to other languages, is it not?


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#148353 - 09/28/05 07:59 AM Re: 'manned/unmanned' and gender neutralisation
inselpeter Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/14/01
Posts: 2379
Loc: New York City
>>personally, I don't think too much of gender-neutral language<<

But many readers do. If the object is to communicate, it is wise not to alienate them. This is not to endorse an over-indulgence in pcese, but considerations of gender do not obscure and, in fact, have merit.

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#148354 - 09/28/05 08:42 AM Re: 'manned/unmanned' and gender neutralisation
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
a lot of mainline Protestant churches re-wrote their hymnals and other service books in the last couple of decades to eliminate gender-specific language. I'm all for it. we do it for future generations.

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formerly known as etaoin...

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#148355 - 09/28/05 09:08 AM Re: 'manned/unmanned' and gender neutralisation
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3286
Loc: R'lyeh
all that messy stuff with bloodied sheets

The monologue perhaps, but I was typing about the use of the word unmanned. (The Latin virgo 'maiden, virgin' is related to vir 'man' and English were as in werewolf or weregeld.) Unmanned for deflowered is kind of a stretch, though.

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Ceci n'est pas un seing.

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#148356 - 09/28/05 10:08 AM Re: 'manned/unmanned' and gender neutralisation
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
whoops, came out as a double post.

Bingley
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Bingley

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#148357 - 09/28/05 10:08 AM Re: 'manned/unmanned' and gender neutralisation
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
No, no, you misunderstand me. I was thinking of unmanned here equalling undeflowered.

Bingley
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Bingley

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