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Regarding the kitchen in a home as being the only designated space without being defined as a 'room': possibly this is because the 'kitchen' was not attached in any way to the rest of the house/home. In early European homes the rooves of houses were made of flammable material: moss, woven straw etc. (Daub and wattle.) Fire spreading beyond the fire place to the rest of the house was clearly a danger. So the kitchen was a designated space quite far from the main house. It wasn't until houses were constructed of stone, slate or brick THROUGHOUT, that the kitchen was 'brought in from the cold' so to speak!
Could this possibly be the reason that kitchen was not defined as a 'room' because it was a building all on it's own?
Re: there being no gender distinction in the word "doctor" because women only recently became doctors, not so. Women have a long tradition as doctors, being the original healers, before being shunted aside by men as technology became "high" along with pay. In my childhood, such women were referred to as "a WOMAN doctor." Likewise, nurses who are men are invariably referred to as "a male nurse." ludicrous as it may be to refer to a "he" as a "male". There seems to be a need to segregate professions by gender, to let it be known everyone is fulfilling their proper role.
I like gender neutral nouns and feel that genderized nouns (I just made up "genderized") are essentially without any useful merit and only reflect the biases of the groups that create them.
Any occupational noun [e.g., doctor (not medicine man), nurse (not midwife), actor, pilot, president] should be inherently gender neutral. If there is any question about the gender or sex of the person being described by the noun, the adjectives 'male' and 'female' can be added for clarity.
Not 'woman' or 'man', which are nouns, not adjectives and do not accommodate non-adult women or men. Nor, 'lady' or 'gentleman', which is a specific kind of woman or man [the husband of the female President of the USA on "24" is called, rather amusingly in my view, the "First Gentleman" -- reflecting the established use of "First Lady" to describe the wife of the President of the USA.].
As a French student, I constantly lament the fact that the French have given nouns and pronouns (and all that depend on them grammatically) gender. I can never remember the gender of inanimate objects since there is no logical way to do so.
I was rather surprised by the views of the female lawyer who phoned the show. But, perhaps I should not have been.
doctress is a word
michele, as i said, it might also be helpful to have a way of adding 'italian' or 'black' or 'left-handed' into a profession word, but we don't do that. what is being implied when we say that it's important to know the gender of a person we are talking about? and what does it say that when there is a mixed-gender group of people, we use the plural of the word we are, in singular, using for males? because if i say 'that bar is full of actors' i don't think people will assume i mean there aren't any female actors. but if i say 'that bar is full of actresses', you would assume there aren't male actors.
it's actually pretty rare that you need to know, linguistically, whether a person is a man or a woman. you'd be surprised. it's sexism that makes us 'need to know', becuase we have such different expectations of men and women, we don't know which set of standards to judge the genderless person by. that's why it bugs us so much when we don't know someone's gender.
Simple, "monopoly": One controls many.
Anyone with some familiarity with French and with debates in France over "politically correct" and non-sexist language will find this passionate debate over "gender neutral" terms especially absurd and convoluted. In France, the "progressive", allegedly non-sexist or pro-feminist strategy is to create (if they don't already exist) "feminized" versions of nouns for occupations. The French equivalents of "lawyeress" or "doctoress" or what have you are considered a sign of progress in social equality, rather than an at best weird or quaint throwback. I've found it amusing, when listening to French public radio, to hear people of older generations bemoan the insistence of some younger people that they use these feminine forms. Transfered to the US, the argument would be exactly reversed!
Which is a long way of saying, everyone should chill about this stuff, recognize that it's about neither logic or justice, but merely a matter of convention, and people have a right to use what they like, and a responsibility to listen with a generous ear, and not assume sexist malice, or presume to "correct" the other person, whichever side of the issue they're on.
Michael, why is it that we (English-speakers and Romance-language speakers) feel that way?
Not all languages require that he and she be distinguished.Take a look at this wikipedia article, for instance.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutrality_in_languages_without_grammatical_gender
Jim from Brooklyn states: "What idiot created this phrase that makes my life so miserable?"
Perhaps an idiot concocted the phrase, but you make your life miserable.
Often women speak of how the language contains sexism that is anti-female, but consider 'misogynist' an aversion or hostility towards women and 'misanthrope' an aversion or hostility toward humanity. There is a word to describe negative attitudes toward women but one cannot speak succinctly about hostility to men.
Thank you Jim from Brooklyn, you are so right.
Isn't it more efficient to have a feminine and masculine version of a word so you don't have to add "female" actor etc? Especially if the sex of the person you are referring to is important to what you are saying?
I am driven absolutley crazy when talking-heads constsntly use the most annoying phrase "going forward". Good or bad, I automatically despise the person speaking when these two words spill out of their mouths. What idiot created this phrase that makes my life so miserable?
While there is no female words for doctor in English, it does exist in other languages. Notably "dotoressa" and "professoressa" in Italian
Why have gender pronouns? Why he and she, his and hers?
Because in reality, when someone is referenced to us, one of the first things we want to know to set the person in our minds is the gender/sex of the person in question.
Regarding the discussion of nouns ending in -ess...I think it's a generational thing. The people that want to hold onto the ending tend to be older and may want to keep it because they're used to it. It's definitely moving out of the language and is no longer necessary.BTW, my favorite one is "giantess."
What really annoys me: "male" and "female" restrooms ("bathrooms").
I'm listening to this conversation about gender neutral terms for professions. I am a professor and a woman, and I've been referred to as a "lady professor" on a number of occasions, which signifies that the speaker is not comfortable with the idea that women can be professors!
Look at Spanish and other romantic languages, even objects have a sex (or gender) -- so do colors (rosa - pink -female; blanco - white -male)
karen from winchester - it's called respecting dialect difference. it's not 'bad grammar'. it is how people grow up speaking. the differences you're seeing now is that people from different socio-economic groups are allowed to get educations, and in general, people are acknowledging that dialect differences exist and that the 'standards' ascribed a century ago were simply a forced dialect, that dialect based on the ways that the richest and whitest people in the united states already spoke (as in they didn't have to learn to speak 'correctly' it's just their natural dialect. just another way of getting an edge on the general population.)
I disagree with the caller (the retired attorney) in that "actor" CAN (today) be a gender-neutral term.
Perhaps this is a generational difference between the caller and others such as myself.
I look forward to the day when the term "sex" (referring to one's biological make up) does not refer solely to "Male" and "Female" but also branches out to include those persons who fall somewhere in the middle, such as those with a chromosomal make up that is not XX or XY but rather can be XXY or XXXY and are classified as Intersex. (such births occur in about 1 in 2000, more often than many other conditions, such as muscular dystrophy)
Regarding the phrase to "fire" someone. I once heard that if a person was being ostracized in a community - others in the community would burn down their house, driving them out of the community.
Will this fly Orville?
maybe I just work (and shop) in an environment where the spoken English is NOT characteristic of the population at large, but the grammar I hear these days is appalling and even reaches into media newscasters or talk show hosts. A tiny portion of the population cares about the discussion on this show, while the English at large is coming apart at the seams. "He had went" instead of "he had gone" or "more better" is now being spoken by Americans with 4 year college degrees.
A vase (as in Face) is if you break it.It is a Vase (V OZ) if they break it.Under $75 vase (as in face)Over $75 Vase (V oz)
I agree that language is important in creating gender equality but there are a couple of exceptions when the old way might be better:
Mono = "one"
poly = "many"
I have a question about British guests.
Sometimes I hear the host say, "And thank you for being on the show", and the guest simply replies, "Ok. Bye."
This seems very rude to me, is it less rude in Britain?
Why would Leonard say people get less upset about Abu Ghraib than they do about language? That is so malicious of him. The implication is not flattering.
Ellie , "irregardless" is incorrect; no such word. There is irrespective.
For fun, I truly like to mangle regardless with "disirregardless."
I don't like it when someone says "woman doctor" or "woman lawyer." If gender needs to be mentioned, shouldn't it be "female lawyer?"
colonel (kʉr′nəl)... where did the r come from???
I have a question on the use of "this" and "next" to refer to days of the week.
Is "next Friday" tomorrow, or the Friday of next week?
Which days are "next Tuesday" and "this Tuesday"?(today is Thursday)
One way to get some clarity on the sex gender question is to consider what it does not suggest. For example: we may have sex with another person or many, but we do not have "gender" with anyone.
In response to Gary (on the air):
I'd like us to start using gender-neutral pronouns. Why must a person's gender/sex be referenced in any statement about them, even when gender is completely irrelevant to the topic being discussed? Not all languages demand gendered pronouns.
gary is crazy. we can say female actors just like we can say black actors.
People say "supposably" instead of "supposedly" even the erudite journalists on NPR, what's up with that?Also, irregardless, isn't this redundant? (Though indeed fun to say?)
Perhaps the Mr. Paterson and the legislature might easier approve a "gender-neutral" marriage law instead of a "same-sex" marriage.
To get the sack: The phrase was current in 17th Century France and the probable explanation of the term is that workmen carried their implements in a bag or sack (French sac) and when discharged took up their bag of tolls and departed to seek a job elsewhere.
Ref: Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.
Joseph Cardinal BernadinAlfred Lord Tennyson
About kitchen: in German, the word is Kuche, which means cooking. I think the word kitchen may come directly from that.
Is there any hope of stopping the emergence of the term "nother" as in "a whole nother thing"?
I suggest without actually knowing this that Cardinal is actually added to the person's name and not just a title
I'm so glad you are discussing the difference between sex and gender. I have long been troubled by this. I wonder why we see most commonly "male gender" and "female sex". I think this is because females are thought from the male view as the sex objects.
"Sack" How about this word coming from a medieval route -- as in "Sack of Rome?"
During Leonard's April Fools show, he used the expression "A whole 'nother thing". I'm sure he would play this off as if it were part of the joke, but I think he's slipping.
I was wondering about the word draconian and why it is being so overused. Specifically, the MTA is calling the possible cutbacks draconian, which word I had always understood to be more about cruel and severe punishment. I am not sure how that applies here.
I think you missed a key point on the word gender - gender is cultural identity where sex biological. Think transgender.
Gender can refer to the social construct and lived gender identity. It's useful to have a way to refer to the concept of gender identity separately from the biomedical concept of sex.
To bk : "Gay" used to be a synomym for happy and carefree, as in "a gay, old time."
It somehow transmuted into sexual politics.
I like how Ginsburg felt she needed to change the language to "gender" but then says it's because males on the court would get distracted. But they aren't the ones who felt uncomfortable with it. Seems like Ginsburg was the one who was distracted.
When did "ironic" come to replace the word "sarcastic", and is that a legitimate use of the word?
Not a trivial distinction.
Sex: physical/biologoical categories
Gender: socially inscribed categories of male/female
Significant difference because it calls into question the social construction of gender.
gender only equals prudish if you think that saying 'sex' denotes sexual stuffs. i think saying 'rooster' is prudish, because you are avoiding saying the older word, 'cock'.
It's my understanding that sex refers to your biological state and gender refers to whether you identify as a man or a woman. So, a biological male who identifies/lives as a woman would have the male sex and female gender.
When did the word "ironic" come to replace the word "sarcastic", and is that a legitimate use of the word?
it's probably worth patricia's time to look into queer theory enough to see how terms like sex and gender affect trans* people.
The origins of the term "seachange". Is this related to rapid weather changes when sailing?
Is there a pronunciation difference between a plural and a plural's possessive? Eg, how are the following pronounced
Should the last two sound different?
Britain - organise; United States: organize. What's the origin of the "S" "Z" thing? Thanks.
Leonard has mentioned this topic; so here is my educated understanding:
'Gender' is social--i.e.-defined by one's identity/sex-ROLE; 'sex' is biological--i.e.-defined by one's sex-organs.
Barack and Hillary constantly say the word 'a' as a long 'a' sound and not like 'uh'. I find this a bit pretentious and unnatural and I think they do this to sound more scholarly. I know that either are correct but what's the history of the spoken 'a'? Have both always been in use?
which is the correct way to pronounce 'roof' or 'room' etc.I lengthen the sound of the 'oo' but i have been corrected by some of my professors and been asked to shorted the sound to some thing similar to a dog says, 'ruff ruff', my 'rumm' is small etc please explain
I can't believe I'm going to confess this on Public Radio, but my guilty pleasure is watching America's Next Top Model. One of the best parts is spotting all the grammatical errors in the catch phrases they use. Not the general chit chat between models, but the speeches Tyra repeats every week. When they are picking models to continue on in the show Tyra says "You're still in the running towards becoming America's Next Top Model". "Towards"?! In the Australian and British version of the show they just don't say that. Please tell me if this is really wrong, or just sounds bad. (and please keep don't mention my name) Thank you
I've noticed on radio and television (including WNYC newscasts) that finance, financial and financier now begin with FY.Bernie Madoff was called a FY-nan-seer.When did fih-NANCE leaves us?
Is listening to wNYC addictive or addicting? Are both correct or is one more correct than the other?
what is the story with "gay?" I always thought it meant homosexual - male & female. It is often used in that inclusive way. but now I often hear "gay & lesbian." isn't this redundant?
As the Kentucky Derby draws near, I thought of the several English expressions referring to horses. "Horse sense" is an oxymoron since the horse is a stupid animal compared to the dog, cat or rat. "Pack of wild horses" refers to a strong force. Horsing around means silly behavior. "Put out to pasture" is equivalent to involuntary retirement. "That's a horse of another color." is the equivalent of "You're comparing apples to oranges."An strong insult to someone's intelligence, perhaps unmentionable on the air, is "You're a horse's ass." Finally there is the song to indicate some one is well past his prime, "The old grey mare, she ain't what she used to be."
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