Re: Evolving language or laziness? (#649158)

Subject: Re: Evolving language or laziness? (#649158)
From: Bill Burns <wburns -at- MICRON -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 1996 11:04:18 -0700

14-MAR-1996 10:02:46.92

Kent mentions:


>One side note: How is this issue treated by speakers of languages that
>are much more gender-based than English (such as French or German)?

In our language, gender is tied to our biological gender because it lost the
system of inflections that made grammatical gender an issue (i.e., we have no
other concept og gender with which to relate). In other languages, grammatical
gender has no direct correlation to biological gender. I can't speak for the
women in those countries and how they view the use of similar root forms neutral
or masculine gender forms, but I can say that the languages themselves provide
justification for conceptualizing gender differently than ours does. We have
vestiges of gender in our language, but because the inflections are gone, they
no longer act as formal elements in our grammar.

On another note, when we discuss the usefulness of linguistics in technical
communication, we should probably keep in mind that linguistics can provide more
than just information on standard usage. Obviously we have style guides that
can provide more detailed usage on preferred usage. However, some approaches of
linguistic study (psycholinguistics or sociolinguistics, for example) can
provide some excellent information on the less formal elements of language.

Bill Burns
Assembly Documentation and Training Supervisor
wburns -at- micron -dot- com


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