gender issues and using 'you'

Subject: gender issues and using 'you'
From: Alexander Von_obert <avobert -at- TWH -dot- MSN -dot- SUB -dot- ORG>
Date: Sun, 17 Dec 1995 14:30:00 +0100

Hello Esther,

* Antwort auf eine Nachricht von Esther Wheeler an All am 17.12.95

EW> From: Esther Wheeler <ewheeler -at- azure-tech -dot- com>

EW> <<Now for my technical writing question to the list: Do you
EW> make much use of
EW> "you" in your technical documentation? Have you run into
EW> limitations?
EW> What would those limitations be?>>

sometimes you have problems in German and sometimes you have them in English.
This time, we are better off in German (and French, as far as I know): For the
second person we have two forms, a polite one ("Sie") you use for strangers
and a more informal one ("Du") for your family and friends. I would never dare
to use "Du" in a manual. But "Sie" is quite acceptable as long as a direct
approach is acceptable at all.

This break up into "Du" and "Sie" has advantages, but it has disadvantages,
too: After you have switched to "Du" (which is most likely done on consent
between the people involved or according the context people meet in), it is
hardly possible to switch back. This happenes to be a problem sometimes.

Greetings from Germany,

|Fidonet: Alexander Von_obert 2:2490/1719
|Internet: avobert -at- twh -dot- msn -dot- sub -dot- org

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