FORREST GUMP   Friday, May 16, 2003, 09:27 GMT

hey all

I watched an AMERICAN movie, and this happend :

two men in front of a dead dog,and they are talking about the dog :

1st man : you killed him !
2nd man : I wasn't trying to kill him .

my qustion is :

can we use (him\her\she\he) with the animals or anything else ,because I was tought that we just use them with persons !

thanks alot
Simon   Friday, May 16, 2003, 09:39 GMT
Generally, people are he/she etc. and things including animals are it. However, sometimes animals are personified.

As a rule of thumb, if the animal in question is someone's pet, use he/she. Ok?

God Bless San Marino.
Antonio   Friday, May 16, 2003, 12:28 GMT
Simon is right.
If it involves personal feelings too. Like when we call ´England´ by ´SHE/HER´. It has emotions involved.

When one knows the sex of the animal he/she can use ´he/she´as well.
all the sheep   Friday, May 16, 2003, 20:18 GMT
what if we talk about a human whereto we have no emotions involved?
Simon   Monday, May 19, 2003, 06:55 GMT
Some people do that and it conveys all the negative feeling that you would expect from dehumanising another human being.
Poor Concepts of English   Monday, May 19, 2003, 08:58 GMT
It would have been much simpler if your "language" could just retain the idea of sex-gender, even for things that aren't actually sex-marked but need grammatical sex gender.
Simon   Monday, May 19, 2003, 12:36 GMT
No, that would have been more complicated. Why use gender for inanimate objects - It's silly.
LEARN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE   Monday, May 19, 2003, 12:51 GMT
No it wouldn't.
Learn German or Spanish and maybe you'll have the opportunity to understand.

And it's not silly. It's just your not wanting to understand that may well be.
SILLY OR NOT SILLY?   Monday, May 19, 2003, 12:53 GMT
By the way: why do you use "she" when referring to boats.
Boats are inanimate objects, aren't they.

So who's silly now?
.)me   Monday, May 19, 2003, 19:47 GMT
My lenguage uses she/he for inanimate objects, and I dont think a lenguage can be silly.
Kabam   Monday, May 19, 2003, 21:37 GMT
Agree with you, .)me.
There are no superior languages and inferior languages. There are just different languages.
'My language is better than yours' is a really ethnocentric thought.
Jim   Monday, May 19, 2003, 23:53 GMT
I wouldn't call the use of gender for inanimate objects silly but it definitely wouldn't make a language any simpler at all only more complicated. Sometimes we do in English but it's usually only female.

I think that the general rule is this. If it's alive, it has gender and you know it's sex, use the pronoun appropriate to its sex. If it's an animal and you don't know it's sex, assume it's male. If it's alive but not an animal and you don't know it's sex, assume it's female. If it's not alive, use the female pronoun.

This is complicated enough. If you wrote out the rules for French, Spanish, German, etc. I'd hardly imagine they'd be simpler. This is not to say English is superior or inferior, just less complicated in this respect.
Simon   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 08:32 GMT
No, gender for naturally genderless objects is silly. What does the grammatical gender add in terms of meaning.

Le chien
La victime

The dog
The victim

What does the gender add in terms of meaning in the example above. So it's silly. I speak French and Dutch and reckon that both languages would be easier (and no less beautiful) without gender.
answer to Simon   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 09:07 GMT
First I never said that a language could be silly.
Just refusing to understand the use of sex-gender is silly.

Simon, look:

In German, you say "der Mond" (masc) & in French "la lune" (fem) >>> MOON.

German "die Zeitung" (fem) - French "le journal" (masc) >>> NEWSPAPER

German "der Tisch" (masc) - French "la table" (fem) >>> TABLE

German "die Sonne" (fem) - French "le soleil" >>> SUN

Is this silly? No, it isn't. It's just: 1/ conventions 2/ a weltanschauung as Germans would put it (the way we see the world) 3/ the possibility to develop subtleties in writing novels, poetry or even law.

Note that even 3yo children actually cope with sex-gender use. So it's not hard to acquire.

Note also that German has got a third gender: the neutral. For humans and animate objects, neutral is conventionally referred to non-masculine & non-feminine objects. But you can find : "das Mädchen" (neut) YOUNG GIRL.
It seems contradictory but it's not when you know that all words ending with "-chen" suffixes are deemed neutral by definition.

The same rule type apply with "-ung" endings. All ung-ending words are deemed feminine. Hence "die Zeitung" is feminine. Like "die Weltanschauung", "die Beobachtung" (observation).

The same rule type apply in French with al-endings. Any al-suffixed word is deemed masculine. Hence "le journal", "le cheval" (horse) etc.

Same rule types, but different rules. That's why NEWSPAPER is "LE journal" in French & "DIE Zeitung" in German.
answer to Simon (to be continued)   Tuesday, May 20, 2003, 09:17 GMT
Here's a worse bit of sex-gender subtleties.

"L'armée" (historically a group of men up to this century) = féminin (ARMY).

"La sentinelle" (a soldier ) = féminin (SENTRY).

"L'Angleterre" (a region) = féminin (ENGLAND).

"La Terre" (our planet) = féminin (EARTH).

"Un grand amour" = masculin (A GREAT LOVE >>> singulier).
"De grandes amours" = féminin (GREAT LOVES >>> pluriel).

"Les hommes" = masculin (MEN).
"Les hommes" = masculin (MEN + WOMEN - MANKIND).

"Un enfant" = masculin (CHILD - BOY or GIRL).