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gkelly
08-30-2010, 09:17 PM
Interesting NY Times article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/magazine/29language-t.html?_r=1

Anita18
08-30-2010, 09:30 PM
The stuff about geographic language is really cool. There's always new ways for the human mind to surprise me. :lol:

I have nothing much of value to add, besides that my native Chinese-speaking mother had a really hard time trying to comprehend the work of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Satire isn't used much in Chinese culture, or at least it isn't mainstream, so in reading their books, she's had to stop herself every sentence or so to remind herself that they're joking. :lol:

Orable
08-30-2010, 10:54 PM
Like Anita, I thought the stuff about geographic language to be awesome. I asked my mom what she thought about the idea that masculinity and femininity wrt inanimate objects makes different people think differently about them (the example of "bridge" in teh article) and she seemed to think that was silly. Though bridge is a masculine word in Arabic, she didn't think that bridges are considered to have gendered characteristics - they just take you from point A to point B. :shuffle:

It is a fascinating read :inavoid: esp for those of us trying to learn new languages...

BigB08822
08-30-2010, 10:56 PM
It absolutely does, IMO. I took a linguistic anthropology class and this was the primary focus of our studies.

JerseySlore
08-30-2010, 11:30 PM
Thank you for the link. It was a fascinating read!
I always wondered whether native Romantic/Slavic/Germanic language speakers associate inanimate objects or even animals with gender characteristics. For me, "la barbe" is only feminine because it ends with "e":slinkaway

mila19
08-30-2010, 11:38 PM
PML @ Mark Twain calling the German gender system perverse. I'm still not over about the fact that Madchen has a neutral article Das :drama:

Nomad
08-30-2010, 11:50 PM
PML @ Mark Twain calling the German gender system perverse. I'm still not over about the fact that Madchen has a neutral article Das :drama:

All singular German words ending in -chen take das. But yes, it's odd. Even the variant for "girl" Mädel, takes das.

mila19
08-31-2010, 12:09 AM
All singular German words ending in -chen take das. But yes, it's odd. Even the variant for "girl" Mädel, takes das.
Didn't know there was a rule about that. Our German teacher told us we had to learn articles by heart as they didn't have any rule based on gender.:lynch:

Nomad
08-31-2010, 12:25 AM
Didn't know there was a rule about that. Our German teacher told us we had to learn articles by heart as they didn't have any rule based on gender.:lynch:

Shame on your prof, then, because there are a slew of noun endings that always take the masculine/feminine/neuter article. And sometimes the prefix determines the article.

bardtoob
08-31-2010, 03:30 AM
Absolutely. Language is often the architecture one uses to organize thoughts when looking for solutions to problems.

WindSpirit
08-31-2010, 03:41 AM
I always wondered whether native Romantic/Slavic/Germanic language speakers associate inanimate objects or even animals with gender characteristics. Not really. Well, maybe some do, but not many. I've never really noticed that before I came to the States and I heard people referring to their cars and some other things as "she" and talking about and to them as if they were talking to women. Seemed weird to me. To me, grammatical gender is just a linguistic concept. I don't associate any gender characteristics with nouns of either gender.

zhenya271
08-31-2010, 03:45 AM
Didn't know there was a rule about that. Our German teacher told us we had to learn articles by heart as they didn't have any rule based on gender.:lynch:


Shame on your prof, then, because there are a slew of noun endings that always take the masculine/feminine/neuter article. And sometimes the prefix determines the article.

I had to learn the articles by heart too and my German teachers were German nationals as the school was in the NL. I wonder if they knew the rules themselves as native speakers. Sometimes, I guess when it's your first language you don't know always necessarily know the rules unless you specifically study your own language.

Nomad
08-31-2010, 04:17 AM
I had to learn the articles by heart too and my German teachers were German nationals as the school was in the NL. I wonder if they knew the rules themselves as native speakers. Sometimes, I guess when it's your first language you don't know always necessarily know the rules unless you specifically study your own language.

That seems so odd. I can't think of any words ending in -heit, -keit, -ung, -in that aren't feminine, for example. Or words ending in -or, -us, -ling that aren't masculine. Und so weiter, usw. I wonder why they wouldn't teach those rules to aspiring teachers of German?

Zokko!
08-31-2010, 04:42 AM
I'm German but what I found disturbing about our gender system that there doesn't seem to be rule plus to me it's funny here in Germany we call moon/sun DER Mond, DIE Sonne ... in French it's the opposite ... LA lune, LE soleil ...

Nomad
08-31-2010, 04:54 AM
I find it interesting that Germans don't think there are rules for definite articles. That just seems so un-German to me. :lol: French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish have similar rules - I.e., certain noun endings require one gender or another. Italian's a bit different with their neuter article; the beginning of the word usually determines whether it's masculine or neuter.