Questions regarding the grammatical gender of English words.

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4
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1answer
845 views

What is the origin of “-ix” as a feminine variation?

Some words are made feminine by altering the suffix to be -ix. Examples: dominator → dominatrix executor → executrix rector → rectrix What is the origin of this variation? From my 5 years of ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

A man's breast vs. a woman's breasts

Why is it that breast is used when referring to a man's chest, but breasts is used for a woman's? Could breast also mean a woman's chest, or do breasts have to be used when referring to a woman's ...
4
votes
2answers
310 views

Is the English Language becoming more generic, in the sense that English is distinguishing less between masculine and feminine?

To clarify: what I mean is that in Australia for instance there is a trend in English to use words that do not distinguish between men and women. E.g. Chairperson instead of Chairman. So the question ...
4
votes
5answers
663 views

Is there a female or gender-neutral equivalent to the colloquial “man”?

I don't know how to define the usage of man I'm talking about*, so I'll do it with examples: Hey, man, what's up? C'mon, man, don't make me do this. Is there a female or gender-neutral ...
4
votes
1answer
920 views

What is the word for nouns with gender-specific forms?

Thought I would try a question with visual aid.* The image below shows Claire Danes, "Actor", in a kiosk poster for the Met. The variation in usage between actor and actress for female thespians is ...
4
votes
1answer
290 views

“Motherland” vs. “fatherland”

What are the different connotations of motherland and fatherland? NOAD defines both as "a person's native country," though it adds "esp. when referred to in patriotic terms" for fatherland. The words, ...
4
votes
1answer
422 views

Do vocal pitch and timbre differ by accent?

Guys from the UK and India seem to have higher-pitched voices than Americans. Similarly, I have heard comments from Japanese-American women that they make an effort to lower their voices when speaking ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Can a female proprietor be called as “proprietor”?

I know the female version of proprietor can be called as proprietress or proprietrix. But I want to know whether a female proprietor can also be called a proprietor? Or does proprietor only indicate ...
3
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2answers
5k views

Is the word “women's” a typo?

My browser's spellcheck says it is, but I can't figure out why. Is Firefox sexist?
3
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1answer
1k views

Difference between female and male usage [closed]

What explains the difference of a de facto larger frequency of vowels of one writer compared to another? In the statistics data I examined, a vowel had higher probability in the text from the female ...
3
votes
3answers
637 views

Which is more correct: gender or sex? [duplicate]

I've always used "gender" when I want to talk about whether a person is male or female. But I came across this comment on a similar question here: Correct usage is "sex" for humans and other ...
3
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3answers
384 views

Noun genders in Moby Dick

English nouns do not have grammatical gender. But in Moby Dick, some nouns do seem to have gender, like "ship" (feminine) and "whale" (masculine). Some passages: And now the time of tide has come; ...
3
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2answers
3k views

What do you say when you don't know someone's gender? [duplicate]

For example, I want to refer to someone on the internet, but I don't know this person's gender. Which personal-pronoun do I use? (as article I mean he, she, it, etc)
3
votes
2answers
133 views

How to ask a mixed-gender group for their participation?

This question deals with the use of y’all in written vs. spoken English, gender neutrality and group dynamics. I often find myself writing emails to a group of both men and women asking if they ...
3
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5answers
957 views

Why we say the earth is beautiful not handsome?

Why we say the world is beautiful? Can't we say the world is handsome?
3
votes
2answers
465 views

Is the formation “[s]he” overly distracting?

Does the use of "[s]he" as a gender-neutral pronoun prompt eye-rolling in the reader or is it generally accepted? I know it cannot be pronounced, but it seems to me a helpful contraction in written ...
3
votes
3answers
525 views

Avoiding the use of “the reader”?

I'm writing a response essay to Medieval Women's Visionary writings that possess power. In this essay I'm supposed to explain how two writers, that I've picked to write about, possess or don't possess ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Difference in male vs female use of the English language

Is there a somewhat reliable (like, for example 70% success rate) way to determine whether a paragraph in the English language was written by a man or a woman (adult male/female)? Any credible ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Default gender for pronouns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is using “he” for a gender-neutral third-person correct? I’m sure this is a duplicate, but I've heard that when the gender is unknown you are to use he instead of he or ...
2
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3answers
370 views

Female equivalent of “creator”?

Female equivalent of "creator"? Or is it unisex? I'm a programmer and I named a variable "creatingFunction", which sounds even worse than "creatorFunction".
2
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3answers
1k views

Personal pronouns for animals

In my native language German, every animal has an article. This is understandable, if one wants for example to distinguish a male pig (boar) from a female pig (sow). But if one just talks about the ...
2
votes
3answers
515 views

Gender, generally associated with “toad” characters in English fiction and folklore

Common noun for a toad ("жаба") is of female gender in Russian. From all English literature that I read, I can remember only one toad-like character: Mr. Toad from The Wind in The Willows, and he is ...
2
votes
3answers
306 views

Perception of subjects with indeterminate gender [closed]

Being German, I am used to getting information about the gender of a sentence's subject in the same sentence: Meine Freundin mag Bücher. Here it is immediately clear that it's a female friend of ...
2
votes
3answers
838 views

Can the feminine pronouns be gender-neutral? [closed]

I know this sounds weird but I've been noticing a lot of texts on the Internet like this one: "Any citizen is concerned with her well-being ...". The word in question is "her". To me it seems like in ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

User: She, He, She or He, or They? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender neutral, singular pronoun (his vs. her vs. their)? I would like to know if when I'm writing about a "user" (in the broad sense), what do I ...
2
votes
2answers
895 views

Speaking about someone of unknown gender [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gender neutral pronoun For example, user clicked the button. I don't know if the user is male or female, what gender should I use? Now I read a book, where the user is ...
2
votes
1answer
361 views

Female equivalent for “wet dreams”? [closed]

As I understand, the term wet dreams applies only to masculine gender? Then, unless it's unisex in nature, is there a specific term applicable to feminine gender?
2
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2answers
59 views

The feminine of “He was a leading man of letters”

"William Shakespeare was a leading man of letters". What if we are talking about Florence Margaret Smith. Miss Smith was a leading...... Would you, native speakers, say "woman" ?
1
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4answers
440 views

Should the common usage “Webmasters” be gender neutered into a separate webmistresses to describe female web site admin professionals?

Should the common usage "Webmasters" be gender neutered into a separate webmistresses to describe female web site admin professionals? Specifically why do we really need a term like web mistresses? ...
1
vote
4answers
22k views

Can I use “you guys” when it includes gals? [Northeast USA] [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “guy” gender-neutral? I'm in the Northeast USA. I'm about to email 3 people, 2 are women It is ok to say "I thought you guys would find this ...
1
vote
2answers
125 views

Is 'liege' masculine?

'Liege' seems to most often refer to a man. Is that because most lords in history and fiction are men, or because 'liege' is a masculine noun? If the latter, is there a feminine counterpart?
1
vote
5answers
6k views

Origin of 'fairer sex'

I've seen the term 'the fairer sex' being used in a number of areas to refer to females. How did they get that title? What does 'fairer' refer to in this case?
1
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0answers
48 views

Addressing someone with no specified gender [duplicate]

How do you address someone whose gender is not specified, when you are writing something? Take this as an example: The teacher said we should go; ____ said we are good pupils. Would you insert ...
1
vote
0answers
35 views

how to refer a person with undefined sex? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? The title is a little confused because I don't know how to explain in one line, ...
1
vote
0answers
84 views

Identifying the implied gender of nouns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Referring to objects as “she” English officially does not have genders like German or other languages; for example, a chair is an it, not a he or she. ...
1
vote
0answers
215 views

Unisex slang for “man” [closed]

In slang, one can use the generic "man", to describe his conversant. For instance: Man, it's sure hot here this season How can I express that for a woman I'm talking with?
1
vote
0answers
170 views

How to take the gender of an anonymous person into consideration? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gender neutral pronoun Very often, I find myself writing about a user, an anonymous person whose gender I don't know. Right after mentioning this abstract user, I need ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Generic way for writing about person without knowing his/her gender [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? Is there generic way to write something ...
0
votes
4answers
2k views

Equivalent of “Man up” for a female [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gender-neutral equivalent for “Take it like a man” Does this make sense? For instance: "John, just man up and get on with it". You can't say this to a ...
0
votes
1answer
93 views

How do I pluralise a word that has a masculine and feminine singlar forms, for a mixed group?

This may be an ill-defined question since it arose from trying to pluralise a word that has come from French, I wanted to pluralise a pair flaneurs of different genders. Flaneur comes from the French ...
0
votes
2answers
164 views

What's the neutral measurement unit for masculine and feminine?

When we want to know how tall or how short someone is, we can query for his tallness, shortness, or height (neutral measurement unit). Is there such a neutral measurement unit for the adjectives ...
0
votes
3answers
172 views

Why are there no male or female terms for cousins in English? [duplicate]

In general English doesn't seem to cater well for identifying relationships between people, and the classic example seems to be the term 'cousin' because you can't really work out whether it is ...
0
votes
1answer
200 views

Pronouns and declension for merged/hermaphroditic entities

I have a pair of friends who since entering into a relationship have become rather disgustingly effusive and clingy, to the point where people around them have begun referring them an 'it' [singular], ...
0
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2answers
205 views

“Layman” and gender equality

Is it correct to write: He wants to explain X concept to the layman, not before warning him ... Or should I write: He wants to explain X concept to the layman, not before warning him or her ...
0
votes
2answers
190 views

Why are “player”, “researcher” and “designer” referred to by a feminine gender specific pronoun? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can the feminine pronouns be gender-neutral? Reason for the current trend to use "she" as the gender-neutral pronoun? In a lot of academic literature that I'm reading ...
0
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2answers
117 views

Gender question [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Speaking about someone of unknown gender… Gender neutral pronoun I'm writing a paper about markets and mention several times providers and their offers. The ...
0
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0answers
9 views

Who are some linguists who have an “essentialist” view? [migrated]

I have to write an essay which looks at the way the study of gendered differences in language changes over time but I'm struggling to find any linguists who write with the view that language is ...
0
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0answers
32 views

Female or Male pronouns matter in this case? [duplicate]

As far as I understand, English nouns do not have a 'gender' so to speak - when I say the word 'manager' I may be referring to a woman or to a man, one cannot infer the gender just by hearing the ...
0
votes
0answers
82 views

Is it polite to say 'thank you guys' if both genders were involved? [duplicate]

Related: Is "guy" gender-neutral? Discussion about more formal version: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1620575 Thank you (thank you guys)
-2
votes
1answer
332 views

What does “incognita” mean? [closed]

American Heritage Dictionary reads: incognita adv & adj, with one’s identity disguised or concealed. Used of a woman; n, A woman or girl whose identity is disguised or concealed. ...