Print

Print


Herman Miller wrote:


>for example, Arabic has distinct words for male and female camels
>
Supposedly there are even words for female camels in varying stages of
pregnancy, though it may be a linguistic myth, like Eskimo words for
snow......

>On the other hand, it might be interesting to do without specific words
>entirely, even for humans! So "woman" would be "she-human" (urvi^va) and
>"buck" would be "he-deer" (mi^vo.^sa).


This is the Malay/Indonesian strategy-- however, you distinguish human and
animal terms:
orang laki-laki 'man', orang perempuan 'woman'; anak laki2/perempuan
'son/daughter' and so on.....But there are gendered forms for grandparents
and aunts/uncles
kerbau jantan 'male buffalo', kerbau betina 'fem. buffalo', ayam
jantan/betina 'rooster/hen' and so on.

*laki and *(t)ina are old AN terms for 'man, husband' and 'mother' resp.
Perempuan appears to be a derivation of *@mpu 'master, ancestor; term of
respect' and seems to be restricted to Malay*, as is obscure jantan.

(*I don't know-- but it may be used in closely related Minang-Kabau; they
are matrilineal.)

You also distinguish pregnancy-- hamil (< Arabic) for women, bunting for
animals.

Likewise in Kash:  kaš sinut 'man', kaš luma 'woman', except that these are
rather technical; common usage has modified them to kašut, kašuma.
Animals: ...vayi [vaj] 'male', ....pete 'female'.  But for the Cousins, I
think they will use the human terms.