Gender and Language

This is a discussion on Gender and Language within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; To me, it seems people are just referring to that mostly everyone is male from their point of view, so ...

  1. #31
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    To me, it seems people are just referring to that mostly everyone is male from their point of view, so using "he" as a term to describe all is what they think they can get away with.
    Either way, I don't agree.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  2. #32
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    Well, I can assure you that that is not the reason.

    I live in a primarily English speaking area, and there is no sexism at all implied when using that word in that manner.

  3. #33
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    I'm with the gender neutrality group. I believe the word needs to be redefined and possibly new word introduced or proper way of addressing gender neutrality taught.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  4. #34
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    What I gathered from the link is that there's not a lot of correlation between gender-neutrality of language and behavior. So while it would be nice if English was gender-neutral, I don't think it should be high on the list of priorities in terms of making the world a better place. Although I'm willing to go along if the language changes - in fact, I'd be willing to learn Esperanto if everyone else would.

    Edit: Actually, after looking at the Wikipedia page for Esperanto, I was surprised to find it's not gender-neutral.

    Esperanto is sexist. As in English, there is no neutral pronoun for s/he, and most kin terms and titles are masculine by default and only feminine when so specified. Note that this is an Anglophone definition of sexism; many Germans, for example, feel the opposite, that overt feminine morphology prevents women from being subsumed under men. (However, if Esperanto were completely gender neutral, overt gender could still be specified if so desired.)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto
    Last edited by robatino; 02-08-2008 at 11:06 AM.

  5. #35
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    I'm curious... since english is not your first language, does your native language have a gender-netutral word?

  6. #36
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    No one says it can't be done in parallel to everything else.

    Unfortunately, no, no, it doesn't. It has borrowed a lot from english and indeed, the grammar is almost the same.
    Still, I prefer to write in english so I haven't written very much gender neutrality in my own language.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  7. #37
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    But that is up to definition. Many places, for example, avoid using "he" for example because it would refer to males only and not females. So whether or not it's defined as a neutral word, it's not always seen as one, so it should be avoided, because people can take offense from it.
    I think this depends on the audience. If you are addressing a platoon of soldiers, using "he" may be appropriate. If you are addressing a netball team, using "she" may be appropriate. Yet there are female soldiers and male netballers, thus you might have to change your language accordingly.

    It would be in the best interests of a politician addressing the general public to be politically correct, thus avoiding "he" and "she" as indefinite pronouns would be appropriate.

    But when replying to a user on a programming related online message board, I think it really does not matter. Unlike an army officer or a netball captain, you do not know the audience that you are addressing. Unlike a politician, you do not have to cater to their sensitive tastes since they will not be voting for you. You are already doing them a favour with your reply, so you just need to stick to the rules of the community and be sufficiently polite (no flaming, etc). As such, using language that is correct (though not necessarily politically correct) is good enough.
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  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserlight View Post
    But when replying to a user on a programming related online message board, I think it really does not matter. Unlike an army officer or a netball captain, you do not know the audience that you are addressing. Unlike a politician, you do not have to cater to their sensitive tastes since they will not be voting for you. You are already doing them a favour with your reply, so you just need to stick to the rules of the community and be sufficiently polite (no flaming, etc). As such, using language that is correct (though not necessarily politically correct) is good enough.
    Sure, it may not do much harm, but it can be seen as rude and therefore I always suggest avoiding gender specific words until gender can be established. And if gender can't be established, gender neutrality is the best way to go.
    After all, there is net etiquette on forums too, so being polite is the best way to go. Especially when we're dealing with unknown target audience.

    These are my thoughts on the matter.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  9. #39
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    Sure, it may not do much harm, but it can be seen as rude and therefore I always suggest avoiding gender specific words until gender can be established. And if gender can't be established, gender neutrality is the best way to go.
    After all, there is net etiquette on forums too, so being polite is the best way to go. Especially when we're dealing with unknown target audience.
    But again, "he" would not be gender specific in the context.
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  10. #40
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    But some may interpret it as gender specific since he also would refer to the male gender. Which would be the whole point to avoid it altogether.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  11. #41
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    But some may interpret it as gender specific since he also would refer to the male gender.
    Then correct their misconception. We can do it because of the nature of the medium - the Internet.
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  12. #42
    CSharpener vart's Avatar
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    I'm curios - why so gender obsessed Elysia has copied to the signature this SO male oriented term "programming master"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by vart View Post
    I'm curios - why so gender obsessed Elysia has copied to the signature this SO male oriented term "programming master"?
    Well, there are obvious issues with "programming mistress".

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by vart View Post
    I'm curios - why so gender obsessed Elysia has copied to the signature this SO male oriented term "programming master"?
    Quote Originally Posted by robatino View Post
    Well, there are obvious issues with "programming mistress".
    Because I only quoted what actually posted without modifying, and yes, master sounds better than mistress.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  15. #45
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    I say bag it all, call me whatever strikes your fancy, the great thing about human language is the main point is the communication. If both parties can figure out what each other means, then they are successfully using language. So what if someone may end up getting called a he or she or an it or whatever they are or aren't. If you take offense to that you don't pass the test to use the internet.

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