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Thank you everybody !

It is very strange to me that in English, the female
seems to be a marked form of the general term for
"man". There usually seems to be 2 different or
symetrical words, like "Mann" und "Frau" in German,
"homme" et "femme" in French, "hombre" y "mujer" in
Spanish, "muj'china" and "jen'china" in Russian. Are
there other natlangs using the English system ?

--- Andrew Patterson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> The Shorter Oxford dictionary says this:
>
> OE wifemon(n, -man(n, pl. wifmen(n, from wyf meaning
> woman or wife.
>
> A formation peculiar to English and not extant in
> earlier periods of OE,
> the primative words being "wyf" and cwene [which
> became "Quean"
> then "Queen"]
>
> [=my notes]
>
> If you look up "Quean" it says: OE cwene, OSaxon
> cwena (Du. kwenen = barren
> cow) OHG quena, quina, ON. kvenna, kvinna(gen pl.
> nom. singular. kona)
> Goth. qino = woman:- Gnc *kwenon from IE base gwen-,
> gwn. [Represented by
> the Greek root Gyn [as in gynocologist]


=====
Philippe Caquant

"Le langage est source de malentendus."
(Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

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