myblackeyedfire: (Wolf in transcendent isolation)
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German and Spanish speakers were asked to describe toasters and bridges in three adjectives. Depending on how their language gendered them, the subjects called the bridge either something like delicate and graceful, or strong and sturdy. Russian has masculine, feminine and neuter words, while English makes no distinctions. When I began learning French it did not seem to jar me though, for instance, 'table' is masculine in Russian and feminine in French. It made sense to me that other languages would not use the same genders for objects. This podcast from the NPR post talks more about this and some of its implications.

Date: 2009-05-07 02:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] transversecity.livejournal.com
`Why aren't you teaching us the gender of nouns? Is "desk" masculine? Is "chair" geminine? Foreign kids know, but we don't! No wonder we can't complete in a global market! I demand sex education!'

-Calvin, Calvin & Hobbes

Date: 2009-05-07 05:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rouji.livejournal.com
"''S called the Vieux River.' 'Yes?' 'Know what that means?' 'No.' 'The Old (Masculine) River,' said Nanny. 'Yes?' 'Words have sex in foreign parts,' said Nanny hopefully."

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