Re: Help Systems & Gender Differences

Subject: Re: Help Systems & Gender Differences
From: Karen Kay <karenk -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 1994 10:44:33 -0700

Mike Pope said:
> >Some of it is phonological, too.

> Grammatical, too: diminuitive suffix in German gets you a neuter gender,
> thus the non-intuitive gender of "girl" and "miss". Or is that what you
> meant?

No, I'd call that morphological. I thought about throwing that
in, but decided to simplify. You're right, though, that in languages
that mark gender, more is going on than the obvious-human-gender-type
stuff, and that's what I meant to indicate but didn't succeed.

> Who knows? Anyway, if you buy this theory, then yes, gender is a
> "basic human need" that would now have been superseded by new,
> improved ways to indicate grammatical functions of nouns.

Hm. So languages that don't mark gender? How do you account for
them? Or languages that have 20 or so noun classes?

karenk -at- netcom -dot- com

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