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robatino
02-07-2008, 03:02 PM
> Oh, so all students are he. I see.

Don't blame me, it's the language. I try to avoid unnecessary uses of he/him, and sometimes "they" works, even if its ungrammatical, but I can't stand "s/he", or randomly choosing "he" or "she" - it's too hard keeping track of whether I'm maintaining a 1:1 ratio. If a short synonym for "he or she" starts getting used, I'll be happy to jump on the bandwagon.

Elysia
02-07-2008, 03:04 PM
I think, in this case, I blame you.
You could easily have written it as:
"But the very fact that it causes bugs means the students are already punishing themselves by not indenting while writing the code."
;)

cpjust
02-07-2008, 03:46 PM
> Oh, so all students are he. I see.

Don't blame me, it's the language. I try to avoid unnecessary uses of he/him, and sometimes "they" works, even if its ungrammatical, but I can't stand "s/he", or randomly choosing "he" or "she" - it's too hard keeping track of whether I'm maintaining a 1:1 ratio. If a short synonym for "he or she" starts getting used, I'll be happy to jump on the bandwagon.

Even easier -- just call everybody "it". :D

robatino
02-07-2008, 04:00 PM
Even easier -- just call everybody "it". :D

I know that was intended humorously, but when AI catches up to people, that might actually happen.

Elysia
02-07-2008, 04:46 PM
Even easier -- just call everybody "it". :D

Only, that would be rude.

cpjust
02-07-2008, 05:18 PM
Only, that would be rude.

That's why we need to add a new pro-noun to English to mean he or she but in a gender neutral way.
Do any other languages have a word for 'he or she'?

laserlight
02-07-2008, 10:41 PM
That's why we need to add a new pro-noun to English to mean he or she but in a gender neutral way.
That pronoun, ironically, is "he".

cpjust
02-07-2008, 11:08 PM
That pronoun, ironically, is "he".

Yeah, but that's a very old (politically incorrect) rule and it's obviously ambiguous.
They need a singular version of "they".

robatino
02-07-2008, 11:09 PM
That's why we need to add a new pro-noun to English to mean he or she but in a gender neutral way.
Do any other languages have a word for 'he or she'?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutral_language

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutrality_in_genderless_languages

The second link has a number of examples of such languages.

robwhit
02-07-2008, 11:56 PM
Man, screw politically correct, what are we, a bunch of weak boned politicians?

The word is there, it's not offensive except to over-sensitive people, it works fine, and it's not fabricated based on some "PC" perception.

Just use it!!

Gosh!

Elysia
02-08-2008, 01:53 AM
Do any other languages have a word for 'he or she'?

As you can see from the link, Japanese among one, can be very gender neutral due to words like "that someone" or "that individual" and more.
And that's one big problem when translating from japanese to english. Lots of words lose their meaning. Stupid English.


Man, screw politically correct, what are we, a bunch of weak boned politicians?
The word is there, it's not offensive except to over-sensitive people, it works fine, and it's not fabricated based on some "PC" perception.
Just use it!!
Gosh!
Does that mean you endorse the use of "he" for all?

whiteflags
02-08-2008, 02:24 AM
English is not the only language that suffers from the problems you describe. Most languages have unique words and phrases; Japanese being no exception. English has a rich, old history and a lot of prejudices have been perpetuated, but most have words have either become antiquated or have better primary meanings in modern times. Out of all the words you could complain about, you chose the weakest ones. I've read about black people going to Japan to teach schoolchildren English, and the prejudices they face every day. Only a small-minded woman could take offense to someone not recognizing their gender 100% of the time for the sake of brevity. Meanwhile, white people can still use nigger to spew garbage at another person. There are commonplace words with more dispicable etymologies. Get your priorities in order, please.

Elysia
02-08-2008, 02:38 AM
Oh, come on. Don't be a tard.
We can't do much about the situation in Japan, but I'll tell you that I don't endorse the use of the word "nigger" in any kind of sense or way. It's evil and I don't use it and I tell others to not use it, as well.
But that doesn't mean we aren't entitled to persue our own goals of gender neutrality. To some, it's an insult and rightly so. This is a free world, after all.

whiteflags
02-08-2008, 02:53 AM
You're clearly not paying attention at all.


We can't do much about the situation in Japan, but I'll tell you that I don't endorse the use of the word "nigger" in any kind of sense or way. It's evil and I don't use it and I tell others to not use it, as well.

I bet you do. Badgering rascists is importsnt because it educates society, and no one else brings about societal change than people. My point was that your being unnecessarily critical of people who just want to use current language correctly. Or maybe you'd rather write a letter to say, the Modern Language Association (http://www.mla.org) and urge them to introduce some new words, instead of badgering some programmers. If you really want to do anything about it.

Elysia
02-08-2008, 02:56 AM
I understood your point perfectly fine and my point was that you were being too overly critical against it.
Why can we not have a gender neutral language? It's important to me, as well as others.

whiteflags
02-08-2008, 02:57 AM
Come on Elysia, you could be changing the world. Why argue with me some more? I'm a nobody.

Elysia
02-08-2008, 03:00 AM
Yeah, right.
You always seem to pessimistic.

laserlight
02-08-2008, 04:41 AM
This thread was moved from sobieski19's error C2106: '=' : left operand must be l-value (http://cboard.cprogramming.com/showthread.php?t=98755) thread in the C programming board.

The quote from the first post in this thread is from Elysia.

Mario F.
02-08-2008, 06:24 AM
There are many ways of addressing a person when don't know their gender. A new word is not one of them.

maxorator
02-08-2008, 08:54 AM
That's why we need to add a new pro-noun to English to mean he or she but in a gender neutral way.
I use (s)he. ;)

Do any other languages have a word for 'he or she'?
Estonian doesn't. We don't have gender-specific words. We don't have future forms. We even have near to 0 prepositions! Sounds simple :D ? But we have LOTS of suffixes which are difficult to form. :p

foxman
02-08-2008, 09:23 AM
We do have gender-specific words in French. In fact, every thing has a gender in French, even a table or a book. :)

Standard Mandarin has also gender-specific pronoun, but only when written.

By the way, maxorator, your cat looks pretty cool.

abachler
02-08-2008, 09:27 AM
I believe the pronoun he is gender neutral, IIRC the masculine singular pronoun from old english became deprecated in favor of the neutral form, whereas the feminine did not.

Feminazis are always complaining about something they know nothing about because they can't get laid.

There now THAT is sexist, the use of HE as a gender neutral term is NOT. So like grow up and read a book.

laserlight
02-08-2008, 09:31 AM
IIRC the masculine singular pronoun from old english became deprecated in favor of the neutral form
What was this "masculine singular pronoun from old english"?

robwhit
02-08-2008, 10:55 AM
Does that mean you endorse the use of "he" for all?Sure, why not. I'm also fine with "she" for all. Just... I ask that you don't do it in a feminine rebellious attitude sort of way. That's just annoying.

edit: I'm not implying that you do that.

abachler
02-08-2008, 11:21 AM
Yay, its always been my dream to be a hot slutty tramp. Oops, was that out loud?

Elysia
02-08-2008, 11:24 AM
There now THAT is sexist, the use of HE as a gender neutral term is NOT. So like grow up and read a book.

I think you have a dangerous attitude there. Some people do not agree, my included. What is right is right.
Calling she a he is not right and calling a he she is not right, and therefore using the masculine pronoun he for all is not right.

abachler
02-08-2008, 11:30 AM
I think you have a dangerous attitude there. Some people do not agree, my included. What is right is right.
Calling she a he is not right and calling a he she is not right, and therefore using the masculine pronoun he for all is not right.

Except that what you are failing to accept is that the pronoun 'he' IS the neuter form. It IS appropriate to use the neuter term when the sex of the object or person is irrelevant(object) or unknown(person). Despite their similar spelling the masculine he (He is only a boy.) and the neuter he/his (The thief was very skilled, he left no evidence of his identity) are grammatically seperate words.

laserlight
02-08-2008, 11:31 AM
Some people do not agree, my included. What is right is right.
Calling she a he is not right and calling a he she is not right, and therefore using the masculine pronoun he for all is not right.
Traditionally, "he" is both a masculine pronoun and an indefinite (and thus gender neutral) pronoun.

What you are saying is that using "he" to refer to a female is not right. I agree, but here "he" refers to a person of unspecified gender. In this context of an indefinite pronoun, "he" does not specifically refer to a male either.

This is word overloading, so to speak.

Elysia
02-08-2008, 11:33 AM
Except that what you are failing to accept is that the pronoun 'he' IS the neuter form. It IS appropriate to use the neuter term when the sex of the object or person is irrelevant(object) or unknown(person).


What you are saying is that using "he" to refer to a female is not right. I agree, but here "he" refers to a person of unspecified gender. In this context of an indefinite pronoun, "he" does not specifically refer to a male either.

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.

robwhit
02-08-2008, 11:39 AM
Actually, it is pretty much always seen as one, seeing as it's a basic part of the language and so everybody knows about it.

Elysia
02-08-2008, 11:41 AM
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.

robwhit
02-08-2008, 11:42 AM
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.

Elysia
02-08-2008, 11:46 AM
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.

robatino
02-08-2008, 11:49 AM
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

robwhit
02-08-2008, 11:50 AM
I'm curious... since english is not your first language, does your native language have a gender-netutral word?

Elysia
02-08-2008, 11:51 AM
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.

laserlight
02-08-2008, 11:53 AM
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.

Elysia
02-08-2008, 11:58 AM
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.

laserlight
02-08-2008, 12:00 PM
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.

Elysia
02-08-2008, 12:02 PM
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.

laserlight
02-08-2008, 12:07 PM
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.

vart
02-08-2008, 12:10 PM
I'm curios - why so gender obsessed Elysia has copied to the signature this SO male oriented term "programming master"? ;)

robatino
02-08-2008, 12:13 PM
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".

Elysia
02-08-2008, 12:26 PM
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".

Because I only quoted what actually posted without modifying, and yes, master sounds better than mistress.

Wraithan
02-08-2008, 12:39 PM
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.

vart
02-08-2008, 12:39 PM
Because I only quoted what actually posted without modifying, and

Yeah, quoted without objection :)


yes, master sounds better than mistress.
Then he should sound better then she? ;)

robwhit
02-08-2008, 12:52 PM
vart, it's obviously because he likes the attention he's getting, but doesn't want to say it or else he'll stop getting it. Which is why he keeps making a big deal about gender-neutrality... something about being called a she all the time just doesn't seem right.

imho though, master is gender-inspecific.

Mario F.
02-08-2008, 01:02 PM
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.

This is becoming ridiculous. If you have a problem with that, say so! But stop pretending you know when others might be offended. And definitely don't bring an issue where this is none.

Don't put yourself in anyone's shoes because I can guarantee you almost anyone thinks like you do. You are hopeless!

Elysia
02-08-2008, 01:25 PM
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.
On the contrary I say. You have a right to be wanted to be called a specific gender and not liking to be called simply "he" doesn't mean you don't pass the test to be on the Internet. That's ... isn't that discrimination?


Then he should sound better then she? ;)
No, of course not. He is for males, she is for females, they are for neutrality :)


vart, it's obviously because he likes the attention he's getting, but doesn't want to say it or else he'll stop getting it. Which is why he keeps making a big deal about gender-neutrality... something about being called a she all the time just doesn't seem right.
I respond at your ideals because I challenge them. I believe in full use of gender neutrality and not pseudo-neutral "he."


imho though, master is gender-inspecific.
I agree.


This is becoming ridiculous. If you have a problem with that, say so! But stop pretending you know when others might be offended. And definitely don't bring an issue where this is none.

Don't put yourself in anyone's shoes because I can guarantee you almost anyone thinks like you do. You are hopeless!
Ah, but I am in that someone's shoes. In a way, at the very least.

abachler
02-08-2008, 01:26 PM
so it should be avoided, because people can take offense from it.

correction, only some people take offence, and you can always find someone that will take offence at anything, so drop it or stop speaking, lest you offend someone.

But of course now you see the fallacy of modifying your speech patterns to suit others. Some people are just imminently offendable, therefore we should take no notice of their offence, as it is just a natural part of their personality and no manner of response will asauge it.

This conversation reminds me of an old boss of mine who got red in the face mad because I called it a 'motherboard' and he got ........ed because he thought i was inferrign that computers are alive. His counter argument was 'so what, do you call the boards that plug into it daughter boards', when I answered yes, he didnt know quite what to say for about a week. It just goes to show you that some people are so out of touch with reality that they have to make up reasons to believe that everyone else is somehow 'wrong'.

Honestly, this is turnign into elysia's personal RANT THAT NEVER ENDS, someone please close this thread as everythign productive that can be said, has been.