Re: Evolving language or laziness?

Subject: Re: Evolving language or laziness?
From: Kent Newton <KentN -at- METRIX-INC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 1996 22:23:00 PST

On Friday, March 15, 1996 10:37 AM, TECHWR-L wrote:
>For all those who remain to be conviced that he is not gender neutral.
I
>have a good test for you.

>Get two pictures, one representing male and one female, the stick
figures
>used for bathroom doors would be fine. Then sit anyone down and ask
them
>to point to the appropriate picture for each word you give them. Then
>one at a time show them :

>he
>hers
>him
>she
>her
>his

>etc..

>I am prepared to bet that in almost every case all of the he, him and
>his words will go towards the male representation. If he is gender
>neutral then on the word "he" you should get equal pointing to the male
>and female picture.

>I doubt this would be the case

>Colleen

>dancer -dot- colleen -at- a2 -dot- abc -dot- net -dot- au

>Yes this test could be improved, but I have to do some work this morning
>:)

>The opinions expressed are mine and not the ABCs

Let's take that test one step further, Colleen. Let's take a picture of
one stick figure and a picture of several stick figures. Sit anyone down
and ask him (or her) (or s/he) (or hir) to point to the appropriate
picture for each word you give them from this list:

he
they
him
them
his
theirs

etc...

I'm willing to bet that in _all_ cases, the plural words will get a
response to the group of stick figures and not the singular stick figure.
If "they" applies equally to singular and plural, both pictures should
get an equal number of responses. This will not be the case. ;-)

As with Colleen's example, I'm sure this could be approved on, but here
in the Midwest, it is late at night and I need to get some sleep.




Kent Newton
Senior Technical Writer
Metrix, Inc.
kentn -at- metrix-inc -dot- com


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