gender voice variants
patrick at hapax.qc.ca
Fri Dec 21 19:52:16 CET 2012
Le 2012-12-21 06:00, ietf-languages-request at alvestrand.no a écrit :
> From: "Martin J. D?rst" <duerst at it.aoyama.ac.jp>
> There is an interesting phenomenon in Swiss German that (small) girls
> are often neutral rather than female. This comes from the fact that the
> word girl in German (M?dchen) is neutral because it's a diminutive
> (which are all neutral in German).
Getting a bit off topic...
As far as I remember, there is something similar in ancient Greek for
small children: ?? ??????, -?? (to teknon, -ou) : a child of either
sex, as in German das Kind. The way it was explained to me: children are
considered asexual, too small to be really associated to either sex.
According to Suetonius, Caesar would have said to Brutus : "K?? ??
??????;" (You too, child-neutral.)
Now, in ancient Greek diminutive can have all three genders ( ????-???
small child of any sex, ????-????? small boy, ????-???? young girl),
whereas in German -chen/-lein calls for neuter. The same is true in
Dutch, diminutives are neuter: het kind (the child), het katje (the
small cat, neuter), het mannetje (the small man, neuter), Anneke
(small Anne/Annie, neuter).
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