May 12, 2009
Trass3r Wrote:

> Georg Wrede schrieb:
> >> :D good old cliches.
> >> but well you're right. we simply got the best beer in the world ;)
> >> Though it's "das WC".
> > 
> > That's a toilet for pets. Der WC is men's room, die WC is the powder room.
> > 
> 
> Nope. There's no differentiation.
> But "die Toilette" or "das Klo" is more common anyway.

Aren't languages wonderful? Here's a language that goes to all the trouble to have gender-specific articles and doesn't use them for restrooms!!

(Yes, I know "gender" in a language doesn't necessarily corellate with "gender" anatomically. And I'm not suggesting Engllish is any more logical than the rest. A good read on the subject is George Lakoff's "Women, Fire and Dangerous Things".)

And, BTW, if we're discussing changes to the newsgroup structure, it might make sense to have an "off-topic" newsgroup for these kinds of discussions.

Paul

May 12, 2009
"Paul D. Anderson" <paul.d.removethis.anderson@comcast.andthis.net> wrote in message news:guc8a1$2mgc$1@digitalmars.com...
>
> Aren't languages wonderful? Here's a language that goes to all the trouble to have gender-specific articles and doesn't use them for restrooms!!
>
> (Yes, I know "gender" in a language doesn't necessarily corellate with "gender" anatomically. And I'm not suggesting Engllish is any more logical than the rest. A good read on the subject is George Lakoff's "Women, Fire and Dangerous Things".)
>

In my high school spanish class, they said that the spanish word for mustache (whatever that was, I don't remember) was a feminine noun. I always found that strange. I mean, why not just replace the last letter with an 'o' and consider it a masculine noun?


May 12, 2009
Paul D. Anderson wrote:

> And, BTW, if we're discussing changes to the newsgroup structure, it might make sense to have an "off-topic" newsgroup for these kinds of discussions.

Has it ever happened that one of us has started a topic with the
/intention/ of it being OT? Well, I guess it has happened, but
mostly, it's just things derailing, and telling OTing people to sod
off to a different newsgroup is not really what we want, now is it?

--
 Simen
May 13, 2009
Paul D. Anderson wrote:
> Trass3r Wrote:
>> Georg Wrede schrieb:

>>>> :D good old cliches.
>>>> but well you're right. we simply got the best beer in the world ;)
>>>> Though it's "das WC".
>>> That's a toilet for pets. Der WC is men's room, die WC is the powder room.
>> Nope. There's no differentiation.
>> But "die Toilette" or "das Klo" is more common anyway.

You're joking, right? Everybody "knows" {der|die|das} WC and their meanings. (Outside of Germany, that is.) :-)

> Aren't languages wonderful? Here's a language that goes to all the
> trouble to have gender-specific articles and doesn't use them for
> restrooms!!

Actually few languages do. And the gotchas and their history and origins are intractable to the casual observer.

> (Yes, I know "gender" in a language doesn't necessarily corellate
> with "gender" anatomically. And I'm not suggesting Engllish is any
> more logical than the rest. A good read on the subject is George
> Lakoff's "Women, Fire and Dangerous Things".)

Well, at least the Spanish got the genders of Key and Lock (la clave, el candado) the wrong way. It's like calling 0 male and 1 female. (You do the math. I mean, the assosiations.)

A serious point, however, is that (in my first language) Finnish, the spoken language doesn't only *not* differentiate between gender, it also /doesn't/ differentiate between humans and other instances (be they living or inanimate!!!). You'd say

"se meni ulos" -- {he | she | the dog} went out
"se putos" -- {he | she | the dog | a flowerpot | a brick} dropped

Contrast this to "modern, politically correct American English", where one says "she" of the programmer, and "they" of any third person. The latter of which is not only semantically + grammatically incorrect, it also makes sentences cumbersome, but foremost, diffuses and murks up the original intent of the author.

> And, BTW, if we're discussing changes to the newsgroup structure, it
> might make sense to have an "off-topic" newsgroup for these kinds of
> discussions.

Errr, the mid-thread derailing of a topic is what makes the most entertaining, often even unexpectedly informative (and therefore idirectly, very valuable) contributions to our newsgroups.

The fact that (even NG discussions) tend to derail intermittently, does seem at first look, as simply an annoyance that only introduces static and clutter to an otherwise worthwhile use of bandwidth. Fact is, the cost of that is actually less than the benefit, because only by allowing it, many treasures otherwise forever undiscovered, are found.

It also allows the posters to feel less tense about their choice of words, about their threshold of including associated or whimsical thoughts -- thus not reducing brain capacity that would better be used to freely advance the issue at hand.

(There's an as-yet unpublished web site (www.bubblefield.com) that purports to graphically examine such issues. Also, some of Lakoff's writings tangent the issue. But the best proof is: why do a bunch of intellectually challenged housewives more than stand their ground in an island community, simply by never letting there be a second of silence when at least two of them are present. To an outsider the "discussions" are a hopeless meandering of one-sentence thoughts directly associated up by any one of the previous 4 sentences (by either party), and no analytic, rational, or disciplined approach or choice is ever excercised.)

-----

Whatevvva!!

Threads explicitly meant to be off-topic might as well be posted on another server, in a newsgroup geared towards entertaining, or in-office unwinding. Their Expected Value (as in statistics) to our cause is way below that of the in-thread derailments.

And last, discussions in such "officially OT threads", tend to spontaneously "re-enrail" way less than those of the "simply derailed" threads. What that loses us is a "proper" thread, only it is now located 
 in an unexptected position, which in practical terms is comparable to mining for gold outside the beaten path.

May 13, 2009
Hello Simen,

> Has it ever happened that one of us has started a topic with the
> /intention/ of it being OT?

There was an epic religion thread a while back that started on the psychology of why programing is addictive.


May 13, 2009
Hello Georg,

> 
> A serious point, however, is that (in my first language) Finnish, the
> spoken language doesn't only *not* differentiate between gender, it
> also /doesn't/ differentiate between humans and other instances (be
> they living or inanimate!!!). You'd say
> 
> "se meni ulos" -- {he | she | the dog} went out
> "se putos" -- {he | she | the dog | a flowerpot | a brick} dropped
> Contrast this to "modern, politically correct American English", where
> one says "she" of the programmer, and "they" of any third person. The
> latter of which is not only semantically + grammatically incorrect, it
> also makes sentences cumbersome, but foremost, diffuses and murks up
> the original intent of the author.
> 

Ah! One of my favorite qwerks of the English language, how to refer to a specific single someone of unknown gender without insulting them: "it"?

>> And, BTW, if we're discussing changes to the newsgroup structure, it
>> might make sense to have an "off-topic" newsgroup for these kinds of
>> discussions.
>> 
> Errr, the mid-thread derailing of a topic is what makes the most
> entertaining, often even unexpectedly informative (and therefore
> idirectly, very valuable) contributions to our newsgroups.
> 

I really ought to have a filter set up to flag for extra attention any thread with OT in the title :)

> The fact that (even NG discussions) tend to derail intermittently,
> does seem at first look, as simply an annoyance that only introduces
> static and clutter to an otherwise worthwhile use of bandwidth. Fact
> is, the cost of that is actually less than the benefit, because only
> by allowing it, many treasures otherwise forever undiscovered, are
> found.
> 

I love "mark thread as read" it makes reading even the most boring thread easy.


May 13, 2009
Georg Wrede wrote:
> Contrast this to "modern, politically correct American English", where one says "she" of the programmer, and "they" of any third person. The latter of which is not only semantically + grammatically incorrect, it also makes sentences cumbersome, but foremost, diffuses and murks up the original intent of the author.

ARRRGHHHH!!! Sorry, you triggered a "pet peeve".

"They" is correct when referring to an unknown (single) person (even if the gender is known, e.x. "someone left their jockstrap in the locker room" is more natural to most native speakers than "someone left his jockstrap in the locker room", although in this case I'd say either is acceptable).

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?cat=27
It's even in the bible: http://158.130.17.5/~myl/languagelog/archives/003572.html

It's been suggested that singular they has been in use since 1400 (around the beginning of "modern English"), and likely in old/middle English as well. It's only been in the last few hundred years when people started analyzing how people talk and tried to figure out why people were using "they" in singular contexts. Someone decided to make it a "rule", and millions of people have been trying to force that "rule", despite using singular they themselves.
May 13, 2009
Hello Robert,

> It's been suggested that singular they has been in use since 1400
> (around the beginning of "modern English"), and likely in old/middle
> English as well. It's only been in the last few hundred years when
> people started analyzing how people talk and tried to figure out why
> people were using "they" in singular contexts. Someone decided to make
> it a "rule", and millions of people have been trying to force that
> "rule", despite using singular they themselves.

I have more problems with singular they making it hard to exclude the plural than anything else. It's right up there with (but not as common as) some neutral statements being promoted to negative ones: "I don't like cheese" vs. "I dislike cheese", making it hard to state some things.


May 13, 2009
On Wed, 13 May 2009 01:04:19 +0000 (UTC), BCS wrote:


> Ah! One of my favorite qwerks of the English language, how to refer to a specific single someone of unknown gender without insulting them: "it"?

I hate it but what can I do?

Use "they". Sure, its wrong but everyone knows what you mean.
As in ... "A good coder will write useful comments because *they* care."

-- 
Derek Parnell
Melbourne, Australia
skype: derek.j.parnell
May 13, 2009
Hello Derek,

> On Wed, 13 May 2009 01:04:19 +0000 (UTC), BCS wrote:
> 
>> Ah! One of my favorite qwerks of the English language, how to refer
>> to a specific single someone of unknown gender without insulting
>> them: "it"?
>> 
> I hate it but what can I do?
> 
> Use "they". Sure, its wrong but everyone knows what you mean. As in
> ... "A good coder will write useful comments because *they* care."
> 

Yeah, much as I dislike it, you end up having to. And as someone else pointed out, "they" is actually correct (why, I don't know). Also, in your case, it's the generic "they" and in one way of thinking, it *is* plural (as in there are many people that it can refer to) so it kind of sounds reasonable.


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