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Thread: language crimes

  1. #21
    Englishlanguage is offline Member
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    Default Re: language crimes

    Quote Originally Posted by JJM Ballantyne View Post
    "Many languages tend to use male pronouns to indicate a person whose gender is unknown. In Italian if you want to indicate a group of 999999 women and only one man you have to use a male gender pronoun. Words like president, minister, attorney and many others referring to important roles are inflected into male gender even when the subject is a woman. This depends on the fact that because the most important Italian substrate is Latin, which was spoken in a society (Ancient Romans') only governed by men. They couldn't imagine a woman sitting in the Senate.
    In Italy some people is now realizing this and promoting the use of new words which often appear odd and philologically incorrect. (If anybody here knows a bit of Italian or Latin I could try to give a few examples).
    However nobody has already suggested using plural pronouns.

    Although I initially didn't understand the actual importance of the issue, I agree with those who claim a changing is needed. It's a matter of politeness and, above all, equality."

    A pedantic quibble. When we speak of gender in language it is not synonymous with sex. There are only two possible sexes: male and female. Gender can include masculine, feminine, neuter and other possible noun/pronoun classifications.

    To illustrate:

    In German, girl is neuter in gender but no German speaker would consider a girl as not being a female.

    In French, a table is feminine but no French speaker would consider a table as female.
    I don't know what your mother tongue is but I believe you cannot make such a statement without deeply knowing Italian. Every language has its peculiarities. If German doesn't identify gender with sex, it doesn't mean every language should not do it. And I was talking about people, so your French example has nothing to do with the problem.
    Anyway, I can assure you that this issue is felt as a very important one by many people in Italy. I understand it may not be clear to a foreigner but I don't understand why you should just get rid of it without knowing the issue.

  2. #22
    Englishlanguage is offline Member
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    Default Re: language crimes

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    Say:
    Although I initially didn't understand the importance of the issue, I agree with those who claim a change is needed. It's a matter of politeness and, above all, equality.
    Can't I say actual importance?

  3. #23
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: language crimes

    Quote Originally Posted by Englishlanguage View Post
    Can't I say actual importance?
    Sure you can say that, but IMO "actual" adds nothing to that sentence.

    ~R

  4. #24
    Englishlanguage is offline Member
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    Default Re: language crimes

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    Sure you can say that, but IMO "actual" adds nothing to that sentence.

    ~R
    What I meant is that at the beginning I thought it was not so important but later I understood its importance. So I thought that actual would stress the difference between what I believe now and what I used to believe before. Doesn't it convey this meaning?
    Thank you for correcting me

    P.s: Does IMO mean in my opinion?

  5. #25
    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: language crimes

    actual means:

    presently existing (the actual temperature is)

    taking place in reality: he saw the actual happening (beating...)

    reflecting the genuine character of smth (real): her actual motive was...

    "the actual importance of the issue" - can you say: the real/genuine importance? sounds redundant.

    I believe that you must confuse 'actual' with some similar word in your language, which means smth else. Am I right or am I right?

  6. #26
    Englishlanguage is offline Member
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    Default Re: language crimes

    Quote Originally Posted by bianca View Post
    actual means:

    presently existing (the actual temperature is)

    taking place in reality: he saw the actual happening (beating...)

    reflecting the genuine character of smth (real): her actual motive was...

    "the actual importance of the issue" - can you say: the real/genuine importance? no...
    I meant to say the real importance of the issue, which I didn't understand before. Is it incorrect? If it is, how could I replace it to convey what I meant?

  7. #27
    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: language crimes

    I believe (my opinion!) that 'actual importance' sounds like a pleonasm, since 'actual/real' presumes that there is its opposite, 'imagined/unreal'.
    In other words, do you mean 'the real importance', as opposed to what: 'the imagined one?' I have come across both real and actual importance many a time, but I have learned it's incorrect. Maybe someone else can explain this better than me...
    Last edited by bianca; 23-Jun-2007 at 21:59.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: language crimes

    The actual importance is opposed to the low level of importance I believed the issue had before. Do I make myself understood?

  9. #29
    CHOMAT is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: language crimes

    I did not realise how(significant) important it was.
    I'm ashamed of this periphrastic solution but for want of a proper adj . .

    Anyway I do understand what you mean(t)

  10. #30
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    Default Re: language crimes

    Quote Originally Posted by Englishlanguage View Post
    The actual importance is opposed to the low level of importance I believed the issue had before. Do I make myself understood?
    Yes, I understand, but I am of the same opinion still. (I agree with bianca about using actual to contrast with unreal or imagined.)

    Perhaps:
    Previously I didn't understand how important it is, but now I understand how really important it is.
    ~R

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