Simon   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 09:19 GMT
I don't want to insult languages that have it but adding gender to English would not bring anything to the language, apart from making it even more difficult for other people to understand. Somebody above suggested putting gender into English. Therefore I replied to say that this was a silly idea. It is.
to Simon   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 09:56 GMT
It would make things easier on the contrary.

Say for instance I'm going through a novel in English & I can see: " the dancer was... and she was...".

At the very beginning "dancer" looks & sounds masculine to me whereas it's feminine for the novelist. Only perhaps two lines later will I come to realise the actual gender.

Being unable to distinguish between a he/man-dancer & a she/woman dancer is embarassing. especially when you write about performing arts as dance: the sex-nature of the body is somewhat important.
Simon   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 10:28 GMT
Yes but all you need to know is that's about a dancer. When the writer wants you to know that the dancer is male or female, he or she will tell you.
The Art of Writing   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 10:47 GMT
Did you graduate in humanities?
Simon   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 10:57 GMT
The Art of Writing   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 11:20 GMT
Don't worry.
Simon   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 11:37 GMT
My point of course is only true if the writer can actually write.
GRAMMATICAL GENDER IN OLD ENGLISH   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 11:49 GMT
Old English nouns had "grammatical gender." This concept is sometimes a hard one to grasp at first, but all it really means is that there are three different sets of noun types, and that modifiers (e.g. demonstratives, adjectives) and replacing pronouns have different sets of forms for each of the sets of noun types.

The sets of noun types are called masculine, feminine, and neuter, but there is not any absolute relation between these conventional labels for the word categories and the objects, persons, or animals that the nouns refer to. For example, "þæt wif," which means "the woman," is a neuter noun, and "se wifmann," which also means "the woman," is a masculine noun. It is especially common to see nouns that refer to inanimate objects but are grammatically "gendered" masculine or feminine.

This is only a hard concept to understand if you get too hung up on the idea of "gender." Modern English has "natural gender," so that we (by and large) use "she" to refer to people or animals who really are female, "he" to refer to people or animals who really are male, "it" to refer to inanimate objects or abstract concepts. Moreover, our nouns, most of them, do not have grammatical "gender," in the sense that all of the articles, adjectives, and so on, that modify them are unaffected by our perception of their genderedness. In Old English the situation is the opposite, almost. The gender of modifiers and of pronouns with noun antecedents is determined largely by the gender of the noun to which they refer, which does not necessarily have any implication about the sex of the object or person being referred to.

English lost everything (from grammatical gender up to verb-endings as it got sucked into the French sphere, from 1066 on).
LACK OF GRAMMATICAL GENDER   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 11:52 GMT
How and why did grammatical gender, found in Old English and in other Germanic languages, gradually disappear from English and get replaced by a system where the gender of nouns and the use of personal pronouns depend on the natural gender of the referent? How is this shift related to ‘irregular agreement’ (such as she for ships) and ‘sexist’ language use (such as generic he) in Modern English, and how is the language continuing to evolve in these respects?

The answer is 1066.
Antonio   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 11:58 GMT
English is so much simplified in its use. Sometimes I wonder why that didn´t happen in Portuguese or German...

Although English is simplified, it´s astonishingly beautiful, precise, idiomatic, can perfectly be used for poetry, law or anyother stuff that you might come to.

Well, English is English, innit!
Simon   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 11:59 GMT
I believe Dutch and the Scandinavian languages have Common (Masculine/Feminine) gender and Neuter gender. Maybe this is a clue.
Antonio - about Old English   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 12:01 GMT
Cheers you oldie goodie normans!!
Urray, Urray, Urray !
GRAMMATICAL GENDERS   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 12:42 GMT
Dutch definitely has.
Simon, can you understand this?   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 12:48 GMT
‚Heora God hi þa gelædde of þam lande ealle ofer þa
Readan Sæ, siðigende be þam grunde, swa þæt þæt
wæter astod swylce stanweallas him on ælce healfe,
þær þær hi inn eodon; & Pharao se cyning ferde him æt
hindan, wolde hi habban eft to his þeowte. Ac God hine
adræncte on þære deopan sæ, þæt of ealre his fyrde an
mann ne belaf.
And what about this?   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 12:50 GMT
Mathathias wæs gehaten, sum heah Godes þægn, se
hæfde fif suna full cene mid him. An hatte Iohannes,
oðer Symon, ðridda Iudas, feorða Eleazarus, fifta
Ionathas, binnan Hierusalem. Þas bemændan sarlice
mid swyðlicre heofunge þæt hi swylce yrmðe gesawon
on heora life, & noldon abugan to ðam bysmorfullan
hæðenscipe. Þa asende se cynincg to ðam foresædan
ðegene & het hi ealle bugan to his blindum godum, &
him lac offrian & forlætan Godes æ. Ac Mathathias nolde
þam manfullan gehyran, ne Godes æ forgægan, for his
gramlican ðreate.
Efne, þa eode on heora eallra gesihðe an Iudeisc mann
to þam deofolgilde, & geoffrode his lac swa swa
Antiochus het. Hwæt, ða Mathathias on mode wearð
geangsumod, & ræsde to ðam were þe ðær wolde offrian
& ofsloh hine sona, & siððan þone oðerne, þæs
cynincges ðegn, þe hine ðærto neadode. & towearp þæt
deofolgild & wearð him awege. Clypode þa hlude: ‚Ælc
þe geleafan hæbbe & Godes æ recce, gange him to me!™
He fleah ða to westene, & fela manna mid him mid
anrædum mode, & ða manfullan forsawon.