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New Grammatical Genders
Get rid of feminine, neuter and masculine and replace them with a large number of other genders
The attic idea was not surreally related to the "it" idea.
In many European languages there are two or three
grammatical genders. English has the vestiges of this
system in having what's referred to as "natural gender" -
there are feminine and masculine animate beings and most
things are neuter. However, English doesn't really
have grammatical gender at all because the forms of
adjectives don't change according to the "gender" of the
noun. All we really have are personal pronouns which vary,
and that's not a proper grammatical gender system.
Outside Europe there are, however, languages which do
divide the world up in a manner quite similar to gender.
Bantu languages and their noun classes come to mind,
although they don't change pronouns. These include things
like animate beings, tools, inanimate
beings/plants/groups, things which can cover expanses
(e.g. custard, sand and water), kinship terms and so forth.
A slightly similar situation obtains in the Far East where
Mandarin and Indonesian, for example, count items using
different words, grouping them together as drops, pairs,
loaves and individual quadrupeds, similar to our own
tendency to refer to "head of cattle", "pairs of trousers"
and so on.
The closest we really get to gender in English is in our
tendency to refer to trousers, scissors, spectacles and
other often-paired items in the plural when it can be
argued that they are in fact single items. So we then
proceed to refer to "these glasses" when there is in fact
only one object being mentioned".
It's been noted that referring to objects by different
pronouns is very useful because too many "it"s are
confusing, so gendered pronouns are in fact quite useful.
This, then, is what I propose:
Invent more genders, possibly hundreds, or maybe just
twenty or so, but get rid of "she", "it" and "he". Instead,
have categories for things which are small and round, long
and thin, masses, occur in pairs, can be placed over one's
head, are short-term actions, are jagged and natural, are
tools, suggestions or ideas, can be poured over things, are
meant to be used to swap for goods and services, and many
many more. Give each of these appropriate pronouns,
adjectival declensions, distinctive plurals and all the other
accoutrements of proper gender. But, do not use gender to
refer to gender or sex at all.
This would reduce ambiguity. We would also be able to
reuse words which have the same form but give them
different genders, as with the Danish word which refers to
an ear or a coin and the various other examples in that
language. Hence vocabulary could be made smaller
without compromising subtlety or meaning.
Imagine a group of people characterisable as tall, short,
recumbent or doing the lotus position. Each one of these
people could be referred to using a different gender and
no confusion would result. It would also be possible for
someone to change gender by standing up or crossing their
legs, gaining or losing weight or taking off their shoes.
This is what I want, and it would be good.
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Aug 03 2017]
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||// and most other things are neuter. //
||Most. Things that, although clearly inanimate - such as ships and aircraft - are frequently assigned a female gender - even if they've been given a masculine name.
// This is what I want, //
||Would you prefer a pound for a cup of tea ?
// and it would be good. //
||No. No, it wouldn't. It would be very, very bad.
||Well maybe bad is the new good. Do you not ever feel
that English is no fun, what with its boring lack of
inflexions and lack of almost everything? All it's got is
weird diphthongs and phrasal verbs.
||Regarding tea, people seem to have unaccountably
mistaken an ink for a drink there, so no, but I'll take the
money if you absolutely insist.
||When we call a ship "she", we are not using grammatical
gender because if we were, the words around it would
sometimes also change. We'd end up saying "the redde
ship", "the red fox" and "the redde vixen" or something
similar. Because we don't do that, we don't really have
grammatical gender except that it could be argued that
legwear, eyewear and pairs of cutting devices are
gendered in the sense that we pretend they're plural.
The she/it/he thing is not gender, grammatically
||Granny's Peach Tea might be to your liking.
||Given human nature this will default to veiled
||That's the whitest thing I've ever heard.
||Is "Redneck" masculine, feminine, or neuter ?
||Don't explain to us, though. There are a bunch of good ol' boys from Alabama, Georgia* and Mississippi outside, who are eager to hear what you have to say, before they make use of that length of hemp rope they've got tied to the towhitch of the pickup truck.
*They seem to have been separated from the rest of the coach party, and until they can get a flight back to Tbilisi they're happy to partake of any alcohol-fuelled antisocial violence that they can find.
||// do not use gender to refer to gender or sex at all.... This would
||Those words, also, mean not that which you think.
||//So we then proceed to refer to "these glasses" when there is in fact only one object being mentioned".//
||That would be because there are two distinct glass lenses, so instead of a looking-glass they are looking-glasses.
||But how would we refer to two cups of coffee?
||A pair of pants, but only one bra. And then there's 'some
underwear.' As if we're confused by the pants and not entirely
certain what quantitative value should be placed on a single
||- global english pre-school education programme
- ten year subtle embeded ad campaign.
- virus with encoded proteins to lend a physical weight to remembering the new genders
- or just add a script to the matrix, and reset the big clock.
||Minima - minimum; bra - brum.