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Subject:Re: Help Systems & Gender Differences From:Karen Kay <karenk -at- NETCOM -dot- COM> Date:Sat, 9 Apr 1994 15:12:48 -0700
Andreas Ramos said:
> It doesn't seem to me to be so arbitrary.
It *is* arbitrary. Whether a language has noun classes or not
is arbitrary, and how those categories are expressied is
arbitrary. There are lots of languages without noun classes
> There are some deep grammar rules at work here.
Some of it is phonological, too.
> It may be arbitrary that we only have three genders (male, female,
> neuter) vs. seventeen in other langauges, but there are genders,
> nevertheless, or perhaps "personality types".
That's the point: there are natural categories, but the assigning
of gender to them, rather than nb. as in Bantu, is arbitrary. The
assignation of gender is demonstrably not, as you seem to be
arguing, a basic human need.