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Friday, May 18, 2007

Gender-based Language

An English teacher was explaining to his students the concept of gender association in the English language.

He stated how hurricanes at one time were given feminine names and how ships and planes were usually referred to as "she". One of the students raised their hand and asked - "What gender is a computer"?

The teacher wasn't certain which it was, so he divided the class into two groups, males in one, females in the other, and asked them to decide if a computer should be masculine or feminine. Both groups were asked to give four reasons for their recommendation.

The group of women concluded that computers should be referred to in the masculine gender because:

1. In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.

2. They have a lot of data but are still clueless.

3. They are supposed to help you solve your problems, but half the time they ARE the problem.

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that, if you had waited a little longer, you could have had a better model.

The men, on the other hand, decided that computers should definitely be referred to in the feminine gender because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic.

2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else.

3. Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval.

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

[Author Unknown]

Feel free to come up with your own lines:)


Posted by Minka :: 10:12 pm :: 26 Royal Subjects

Link to this Royal Decree!


At 23:08, Blogger Quilldancer said...

Male: cable access required.

At 23:18, Blogger Malnurtured Snay said...

It's true! All I think about is sex!

So. Whatcha wearin'?

At 00:39, Blogger Doug said...

That's funny. I'm hungry.

At 08:59, Blogger I Dive At Night said...

This is a silly question. Computers are obviously a-sexual. My computer never goes out on dates, and the longer I spend with my computer, the fewer I go on too.

At 10:05, Blogger Theresa said...

When there's a hardware problem, it usually takes a while to reboot it.

They have a limited memory.

When trying to do more than one task at a time they often crash.

They have a hard disk.

(It's funny that in Spanish you can say el ordenador or la computadora, I guess people just can't agree.)

At 18:04, Anonymous neva said...

i tend to believe computers lean towards the masculine side, tho' i couldn't tell ya why. probably something about their "practical" approach to problem solving -- which generally winds up causing more problems in the long run!

this was too TOO funny, my friend! xox

At 20:17, Blogger Minka said...

Quilly, wouldn´t it be nice if you could plug them in soemwhere overnight adn they´d be re-charged in teh morning?

Snay, a space suit with an electrofence aorund it!

Doug, dogs are easy ;)

morgan, donæt worry...oxygen is not all it is cracked up to be!

theresa, in German the computer is make: Der Computer. In iceland the computer is female: Hun Tölva. In english there are so few gender indicators left on teh apparent structure of teh word, that it is hard for foreigner to tell. When writing poetry, I usually don´t know if teh sun is female or male or neuter...in other language you can tell by teh prefix, the suffix or the article preceding. I just thought this is interesting...nevermind!

neva, there is something defining male about them. Straight to the point, otherwise they don´t accept your html code!

At 00:03, Blogger J. D. said...

Minka...This was a difficult one. And my female computer and I were battling to get a "comment" to you last night. Even today, she still rebuked me and drove me to shout, "Boody hell!" when I tried to speak to Theresa. Must be female...males have always been very kind to me.

And, have you heard those sassy, sexy voices in the navigation systems in cars these days. Can we ladies really trust them? Not me. (YES YOU CAN) Not me. (YES YOU CAN) Not me. (YES YOU CAN) Not me. (YES YOU CAN)........OMG! Who wrote that?.............I told you!

At 02:57, Anonymous Joel said...

I tend to think of them as alien, combining the most exasperating characteristics of both human sexes. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure computers were a "gift" from aliens designed to spy on us...monitor our every move...learn about our civilization. It's how "they" will one day take over the world.

Of course I could be wrong.

At 05:26, Blogger Doug said...

All I know is if there are more than 256 bits memory it accesses randomly and it communicates wirelessly it has to be female. TRS-80s might have been boys.

At 06:19, Anonymous the amoeba said...

I never think of my computer as anything but neuter. Example: we all know that, as soon as you commit to one, you realize that you could have had a better model in just three week's time - and paid less for it. And we get all the blasted accessories anyway!! Knowing that when the next model comes along, none of them will work with it, and you're going to have to start all over.

Come to think of it, they are "gifts" sent to spy on us. But they aren't from aliens. Unless you doubt the terrestial origins of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Page ...

At 07:45, Blogger ariel said...

those are very funny statements, I've already known them but they always make me laugh.

I do have names for my own computer but I avoid to use them when it is awake!

At 17:37, Blogger Diesel said...

Sometimes the USB port won't acknowledge my peripheral even though I'm plugging it in the same way as every other time.

The only solution is to use three different fingers in three different precisely determined locations to get its attention.

At 17:44, Blogger Theresa said...

The gender thing was one of the hardest things for me in Spanish (that and those pesky irregular verbs). We just don't have that concept of gender for objects, they're just neuter.

At 20:48, Blogger Minka said...

J.D...a cup of tea perhaps?

Joel, yes you could, but taht would be highly unlikely, now wouldn´t it?

Doug, that´s a nice story, grandpa!

Oc, true...spying? I buy that. I have a software called Spyware blaster and he always finds threats. You might be on to something!

ariel, I used to name anything Charlie. Guess what I called my computer way back when I bought it? That´s right. Maybe it´s a good thing I didn´t get to have kids :) Charlie I, Charlie II...I think that would border on child abuse!

Diesel, feel free to make a photo of you next time with the finger locations, I am curious now :)

Theresa, yes you do have gender. It is inherent though and not grammatically apparent. But your nouns still have a hint of gender...I´ll give it another century before it´s totally erased, though!
When you coem to iceland I´ll show you arcaic grammar ;)

At 08:11, Blogger Theresa said...

Yes, I can see that for words like actor/actress, waiter/waitress but those refer to people. For animals this is also the case, which seems natural enough. Of course, with political correctness they'll soon put a stop to all that). What's hard for us to understand is gender for objects. The only examples I can think of are ships (she was launched this morning) and sometimes cars (fill 'er up). Do you know of any more?

At 18:08, Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

Computers are both male and female.
The woman side of them gets all flustered and overly emotional and freezes up.
The man side of them doesn't do what you ask them to do, then erases what you said in the first place.

Very cute post!

At 20:51, Blogger goldennib said...

Everybody's so funny.

At 00:14, Blogger The Old Mule said...

my computer always wants to talk.

At 00:20, Blogger Minka said...

Theresa, Old English had more gender, but over time...other lnaguages and -belief it or not- fmeinism influenced teh English language...grammar, infelctions and dclensions have become easier. We foreigners attriute English with oen grammatical feature...third person singular´s "s". That´s it. But cow, moon, sun and boots used to have gender way back then!
If you forinstance say..."Tomorrow I am going to see my new doctor." and you wouldn´t be familiar with his or her gender yet...your next sentence would be more likely to be..."I hope he is good!" rather than anythign else. Political correctness now makes people annouce: "I hope he or she is good!" Imagien your doctor were a monkey, that´s just speciest...but our language is still developing :)

jamie dawn, I knew it would get a few people to smile :)

nessa, yes...should we make our own club?

Old mule... so female, huh?!

At 01:29, Blogger G said...

Funny Old Mule, mine sometimes just shuts me out whenever there's sports on (okay I made up the last part).

Very cute post Minka. And even better comments.

And whoever said "fill er up" - thanks for the reminder. ;)

At 10:24, Blogger actonbell said...

Oh, those are good!
I hope you had a gorgeous weekend:)

At 20:46, Blogger TLP said...

Computers are male. Stubborn and rude.

At 02:10, Blogger Doug said...

Fine, TLP!

At 04:09, Anonymous shayna said...

LOL... can't think of any, tooo tired! But that was funny... Thanks for the laugh! ;)

At 13:54, Blogger Minka said...

G, I think more often than not, it is a greta comment section that makes for a good blog ;)

actonbell, I did...nightshifts all the way through :)

TLP, let it all out *hands her a handkerchief*

Doug, glad you cleared that up!

Shayna, Hi sweetie! Glad it made you laugh!


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