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  1. #1
    Ducklet Cat's Avatar
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    Smile Gender Discrimination in Language?

    Hi,

    I would say there is little gender discrimination in English language (compared to other langauges), because most of the time it it neutral.

    But I ran into few examples, and I'll appreciate any other examples and ideas about this matter.

    1. Chairman. Now, more people use chair , chairperson. But still, chairman is used.
    Are there any similar words in English, especially in official titles?
    What comes to my mind is Landlord and landlady. Any other examples?


    2. Read this:
    "The Patient should be ready for another dose of Panadol, if he wants to feel better".
    - I know sometimes they use he/she to get rid of that.
    - I once read something that uses "she" in a general paragraph. I guess the writer was a Feminist :) That was nice.
    - Another way to get rid of it is to use they, but is that grammatically correct?
    "The Patient should be ready for another dose of Panadol, if they want to feel better".

    - By my general understanding, that is such cases, most people (including some women!) would use "he" to mean both.


    3. Why don't all words have feminine equivalents? authoress, poetess ... ect

    Any other ideas will be appreciated.
    Thanks :)

  2. #2
    SlickVic9000's Avatar
    SlickVic9000 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Gender Discrimination in Language?

    (Not a Teacher)

    2) Obviously, if you are referring to a real patient, you will use the gender appropriate pronoun. However, if you are speaking generally or hypothetically, you can use whichever pronoun you desire, though 'he' is the most traditional pronoun to use in this instance.

    "If a patient displays these symptoms, immediately bring his temperature down with a saline IV and prescribe the following antibiotic regimen."

    To me, it's a little awkward to use 'they' as a gender neutral alternative when the subject is singular, but I've seen it used enough times to conclude that it's acceptable to most native speakers:

    "If a patient wants ice, they can use the machine in the breakroom."

    3) Once upon a time, English had noun declensions and gender distinctions. However, over the course of history it lost most of these features. Few words still retain a masculine and feminine form. I believe most words that have this feature were imported from other languages and carried their according gender distinctions with them. For instance, the endings -ess and -ette came to English with French loanwords and were then applied to other English words to denote gender.
    Last edited by SlickVic9000; 07-Apr-2012 at 06:41.

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Gender Discrimination in Language?

    [QUOTE=Ducklet Cat

    Any other ideas will be appreciated.
    [/QUOTE]


    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****
    When I was much younger (back in the days of the dinosaurs), women were not so sensitive. They accepted -ess words with pride.

    (1) If you went to a party, you would bring a gift for the hostess. (In fact, one famous woman was nicknamed the "hostess with the

    mostess.") I guess one has to use the neutral "host" today.

    (2) I hear that most actresses now demand to be called "actors."

    (3) And waitresses are now "servers."

    (4) Of course, we read in the news about a few "flight attendants" going crazy. Male or female? We don't know until we hear the rest of the news report. In the good old days, "steward" and "stewardess" made things clear from the beginning.

    (5) I guess that an heiress now demands to be called an "heir."

    (6) Of course, sometimes people still indirectly show their deep-seated feelings:

    (a) Someone might say: "The lady doctor told me ...." In other words, only men are "real" doctors.

    (b) Or: "I had a male nurse." A "real" nurse is only a woman, such as the saintly Florence Nightingale.

    (7) Yes, you are right: "Everyone should bring their book tomorrow" is absurd. No wonder students are confused. But it really seems

    to be the "rule." And language is so democratic. So we have to go along with the masses.

    (8) I can think of only one exception that even the most politically correct accept:

    Prince William and Princess Kate are extremely popular. (P.S. I have read that -- technically speaking -- she will not be a princess until Prince Charles becomes the King. She is now a duchess. Not a "duke"!)

    HAVE A NICE DAY!

  4. #4
    Ducklet Cat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gender Discrimination in Language?

    Quote Originally Posted by SlickVic9000 View Post
    (Not a Teacher)

    2) Obviously, if you are referring to a real patient, you will use the gender appropriate pronoun. However, if you are speaking generally or hypothetically, you can use whichever pronoun you desire, though 'he' is the most traditional pronoun to use in this instance.

    "If a patient displays these symptoms, immediately bring his temperature down with a saline IV and prescribe the following antibiotic regimen."

    To me, it's a little awkward to use 'they' as a gender neutral alternative when the subject is singular, but I've seen it used enough times to conclude that it's acceptable to most native speakers:

    "If a patient wants ice, they can use the machine in the breakroom."

    3) Once upon a time, English had noun declensions and gender distinctions. However, over the course of history it lost most of these features. Few words still retain a masculine and feminine form. I believe most words that have this feature were imported from other languages and carried their according gender distinctions with them. For instance, the endings -ess and -ette came to English with French loanwords and were then applied to other English words to denote gender.
    Thank you SlickVic :) That was useful.

  5. #5
    Ducklet Cat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gender Discrimination in Language?

    Thanks a TheParser for your reply. It is really comprehensive. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****
    When I was much younger (back in the days of the dinosaurs), women were not so sensitive. They accepted -ess words with pride.


    (6) Of course, sometimes people still indirectly show their deep-seated feelings:

    (a) Someone might say: "The lady doctor told me ...." In other words, only men are "real" doctors.

    (b) Or: "I had a male nurse." A "real" nurse is only a woman, such as the saintly Florence Nightingale.

    HAVE A NICE DAY!
    Oh! This is so true!
    Well-said ;)

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