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#148358 - 09/28/05 02:22 PM Re: 'manned/unmanned' and gender neutralisation  
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zmjezhd Offline
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R'lyeh
undeflowered

Ah, I see.



Ceci n'est pas un seing.
#148359 - 09/28/05 02:30 PM Re: 'manned/unmanned' and gender neutralisation  
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belligerentyouth Offline
old hand
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Berlin
> considerations of gender do not obscure and, in fact, have merit

I certainly think there is merit in making communication more accessible to everyone and that GN language can facilitate that. My point was that it isn't all that black and white. Clearly there are *some cases where GN versions do obscure the direct meaning or complicate matters (see above). Oh, well. Touchy topic, no doubt. I don't see all the advocates of PC and GN language come to the rescue when people get into linguistic quagmires over certain wording, but they come runnning when they find a combination of letters with 'man' in it though. Maybe we should just ban all but 'it' as a 3rd person next;-)


#148360 - 09/28/05 03:31 PM Re: 'manned/unmanned' and gender neutralisation  
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inselpeter Offline
Pooh-Bah
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Pooh-Bah

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Belli,

Agreed, in general. A rule of thumb

Don't use the gn equivalent if there isn't one.

(The language is moving toward using "they," which don't bother me none atall.)


#148361 - 09/28/05 04:10 PM Re: wait for it  
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R'lyeh
(The language is moving toward using "they," which don't bother me none atall.)

Singular, gender-neutral they has been in use since around Chaucer's time. Give it a couple of more years and it should re-arrive.

http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxgender.html

Language Log has some choice postings on it, too.




Ceci n'est pas un seing.
#148362 - 09/28/05 04:48 PM Re: wait for it  
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belMarduk Offline
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In Québec, we have an expression that goes, “Il cherche toujours la bête noire” (he’s always looking for the black beast) to mean somebody who always looks for insults even when no insult is present, or intended.

Saying that a border post is unmanned in no way implies that only men are able to work at this post. There is no subtle, hidden meaning in the word that says men are better than women and that only men could possibly work at a border post, and no possible way it can be interpreted as demeaning to women.

As to nouns, it does make sense to have more accurate nomenclature. Mailman is a noun that describes a man that delivers mail. It doesn’t imply that only men can do this job, however it is an inaccurate noun for a woman doing this job. Having a female variation makes sense. In the case of mailman, the accepted term here is postage carrier, which is gender neutral, and accurate also.

I’ve read texts that alternate pronouns religiously, “he” in one sentence, “she” in the other, “one” (as in “one can use the wrench to…), “they” and so on – and I found it extremely cumbersome and hard to follow. There is no flow to a text created in this way. Women are not elevated or helped by this, and I say it is foolish to think it is an improvement.

There are real barriers affecting the elevation of women to the level that men have – in some places women are still considered chattel, in others, women are tortured and discarded like refuse. Women should get over being insulted about a booth being “unmanned” and move on to real issue.

I’m not saying women shouldn’t be vigilant in assuring that they not be subclassed, I’m saying that we should be smart enough to judge when something is really meant to insult or demean, and when something is not, and to put our energies into the real problems affecting women.


“Arrête de voir les bibittes où y’en a pas ! “ (Stop seeing bugs where there are none.)

And lastly, “Fait une femme de toi.” – (Make a woman of yourself.) Be mature and be intelligent. The booth is unmanned. Get over it dag nabbit.



#148363 - 09/28/05 04:59 PM Re: wait for it  
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Pooh-Bah
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>>Singular, gender-neutral they has been in use since around Chaucer's time. Give it a couple of more years and it should re-arrive.<<

I was being conservative in the hope of *avoiding* a jibe -- that's I get when I don't attribute: I was paraphrasing Bryan Garner whose book I mentioned earlier.
;-)


#148364 - 09/28/05 06:04 PM Re: wait for it  
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zmjezhd Offline
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R'lyeh
Well, then I wasn't jibing you, but tweaking Mr Garner's nose. He should know better. (I just looked at his entry on sexism, and saw the sentence is question.) Thanks.



Ceci n'est pas un seing.
#148365 - 09/28/05 06:25 PM Re: wait for it  
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Pooh-Bah
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Pooh-Bah

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>>tweaking Mr. Garner's nose<<

I suppose he's just touching on the issue for the sake of legal writers who freeze at the idea of using "they."

And thank you, too.


#148366 - 09/28/05 07:28 PM Re: singular they  
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tsuwm Offline
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this too shall pass
expanding on an example from Fowler:

prescrip: Everyone was blowing his nose.
p.c.: Everyone was blowing his/her nose.
extreme p.c.: Everyone was blowing hir nose.
singular they: Everyone was blowing their nose.
or: Everyone was blowing their noses?
or: Everyone were blowing their noses??


#148367 - 09/28/05 08:01 PM Re: singular they  
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Pooh-Bah
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What about the likes of ships in pcese? "My, she was yar!"


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