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157550Re: Semantic Content of Grammatical Gender?

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  • Benct Philip Jonsson
    Feb 1, 2009
      Ina van der Vegt wrote:
      > 2009/1/31 Chris Peters <beta_leonis@...>:
      >>> One little nit: If I understand you corrrectly this is not always so. > There is a difference between 'el papa' and 'la papa.' That's the only > one that comes to mind, but there may be others.> > Charlie
      >> One other example I've heard about this (which may be an urban legend, so please correct me if my understanding is in error): "El Presidente" in Spanish means "The President, while the feminine equivalent, "La Presidente", means literally "The First Lady." And this fact (??) led to some interesting linguistic dilemmas when various South American countries started electing their first women heads of state ...
      > There's alse Dutch secretaris/secretaresse, which was originally the
      > same word with different genders, but grew into different functions
      > (And, thus, different words) over time.
      > While 'Hij is een secretaresse' (He is a 'secretaresse') is not a
      > usual sentence. 'Zij is een secretaris' (She is a secretary) is one
      > I've heard before.

      It's the same with Swedish _sjuksköterska/sjukskötare_ which
      used te be 'female/male nurse' but now mean 'graduate nurse'
      vs. a much lower grade of nursing assistant, and both can be
      prefixed with _manlig/kvinnlig_ 'male/female' at need.
      My Sprachgefühl is conservative in that _manlig
      sjuksköterska_ sounds totally wrong to me. I'm probably not
      the only one, since there is a prejudice in some circles
      that all male nurses are gay.

      BTW does _male nurse_ sound right to you English native
      speakers? To me it's up there with _Ms. Chairman_,
      but it may be that my feelings for the Swedish term.

      /BP 8^)>
      Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
      "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient
      à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil
      ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*,
      c'est qu'elles meurent." (Victor Hugo)
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