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Genderless languages

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18 messages over 3 pages: 13  Next >>
Henkkles
Triglot
Senior Member
Finland
Joined 3161 days ago

544 posts - 1141 votes 
Speaks: Finnish*, English, Swedish
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 9 of 18
21 June 2013 at 12:20am | IP Logged 
Exactly. Whereas Russian makes one constantly think of someone's gender, for example in the preteritum of any verb, the only time you have to think of someone's gender in Finnish if you use a noun that is specific to females, such as 'woman.'
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Cabaire
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 4507 days ago

725 posts - 1352 votes 

 
 Message 10 of 18
21 June 2013 at 4:05am | IP Logged 
I have heard that the difference between Chinese 他 (he) and 她 (she) is a modern usage, a sort of emancipation, when women did not want any more to write the glyph 人 ([male?] person) in their pronoun, but prefered to replace it with a woman (女).
Can anyone confirm this notion or is this an urban legend?

PS. The two characters are still homophones (tā), of course.

Edited by Cabaire on 21 June 2013 at 4:07am

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Jarel
Diglot
Groupie
Turkey
Joined 3234 days ago

57 posts - 77 votes 
Speaks: Turkish*, English
Studies: Italian, German

 
 Message 11 of 18
21 June 2013 at 9:23am | IP Logged 
Well in Turkish; the third person singular and plural pronouns are neutral. Also language does not use distinctive articles for genders (Turkish doesn't even have definite article though ) and names don't have a gender. Likewise verbs are not conjugated differently according to the gender of the subject. But there are words for female persons; such as mother, grandmother, wife, hostess etc. Turks used to have different words for some male and female professions (such as "müdire" for female director and "müdür for male one ) but that distinction is loosing ground. Even then most professions are genderless.

Even for words such as nephew/niece, brother/sister Turkish doesn't have gender difference. But one might add a prefix or preword to point out the person mentioned is female, though it is not mandatory. ("kızkardeş" for sister instead of "kardeş" a unisex word for both brother and sister)

Obviously it is not a perfectly genderless language (not even close) but to me it seems it is as genderless as it gets in modern world.
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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 4074 days ago

3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 12 of 18
21 June 2013 at 6:02pm | IP Logged 
Papiamentu doesn't have morphological genders, apart from some fossilized constructs of Spanish origins.
Georgian doesn't have morphological gender either, not even for 3rd person prounons.
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darkwhispersdal
Senior Member
Wales
Joined 4948 days ago

294 posts - 363 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Ancient Greek, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Latin

 
 Message 13 of 18
21 June 2013 at 9:44pm | IP Logged 
Cabaire wrote:
I have heard that the difference between Chinese 他 (he) and 她 (she) is a modern usage, a sort of emancipation, when women did not want any more to write the glyph 人 ([male?] person) in their pronoun, but prefered to replace it with a woman (女).
Can anyone confirm this notion or is this an urban legend?

PS. The two characters are still homophones (tā), of course.


I don't know about change of use but according to the book Du's Handbook of Classical Chinese Grammar there was a pseudo pronoun 妾 (qiè) that means both [you] concubine and I (used by wives and unrelated women) and another word qīng used by a husband to address a wife but also has the meaning of (my) minister. These two are described as common in the book but how common they were in spoken Chinese upto the present I have no idea.
1 person has voted this message useful



shk00design
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3352 days ago

747 posts - 1123 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, Mandarin
Studies: French

 
 Message 14 of 18
21 June 2013 at 10:29pm | IP Logged 
darkwhispersdal wrote:
Cabaire wrote:
I have heard that the difference between Chinese 他 (he)
and 她 (she) is a modern usage, a sort of emancipation, when women did not want any more to write the
glyph 人 ([male?] person) in their pronoun, but prefered to replace it with a woman (女).
Can anyone confirm this notion or is this an urban legend?

PS. The two characters are still homophones (tā), of course.


I don't know about change of use but according to the book Du's Handbook of Classical Chinese Grammar
there was a pseudo pronoun 妾 (qiè) that means both [you] concubine and I (used by wives and unrelated
women) and another word qīng used by a husband to address a wife but also has the meaning of (my)
minister. These two are described as common in the book but how common they were in spoken Chinese
upto the present I have no idea.


The Chinese language in simple terms do not have subject-verb conjugations. You use gender-based
pronouns only in writing: 他/她/它 (he/she/it) with the same pronunciation "tā" for all 3. 你/妳 for you also
with the same pronunciation. When it comes to family relations they do distinguish between older and
younger members of the family, the father and the mother's side of the family.

A language that is not only gender-based but also seniority-based. In the past when people used to have
large families, the aunts and uncles are referred to not by name but commonly by number such as from 1-
8 or whatever. We don't necessarily know their birth dates but we know who is older than who.
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leroc
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3219 days ago

114 posts - 167 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German

 
 Message 15 of 18
22 June 2013 at 7:59am | IP Logged 
Arekkusu wrote:
Volte wrote:
Nonetheless, I've never heard the 'parent 1/parent 2' terminology

Somehow, being called "parent 1" sounds a bit better than "parent 2".


How about Parent A and Parent I. The A and I are alternated between male and female every week.
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Darklight1216
Diglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4008 days ago

411 posts - 639 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German

 
 Message 16 of 18
22 June 2013 at 8:12pm | IP Logged 
Volte wrote:
Pirahã apparently only has one word for parent, and no gendered equivalents. One source says other relationships are gendered, though apparently kinship terms aren't frequently used. Another, perhaps more reliable, says they don't have gendered kinship terms.

Serpent: I spend a fair amount of time with very politically correct people in the West, from both Europe and North America. Several use gender-neutral pronouns. Nonetheless, I've never heard the 'parent 1/parent 2' terminology, and my knee-jerk reaction is that that would be analysed as sexist... it's certainly not widespread. It sounds more like anti-Western propaganda than a description of common use, even among quite PC folk.

Edit: added a link to Everett's speech.

You are correct in saying that it's not widespread or common, but it does exist...


Quote:
“The words in the old form were ‘mother’ and ‘father,’” said Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant Secretary of State for Passport Services. "They are now ‘parent one’ and ‘parent two.’"


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/01/07/passport-applicat ions-soon-gender-neutral/#ixzz2WyBjOwCI

From what I understand, the word "hen" can be used in Swedish in lieu of he and she or him and her or something like that. I don't know much about it at all, but it might possible to use neutral terminology in Swedish.


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