On Fri, 4 May 2012 00:44:06 +0200 Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > On 3 May 2012 17:46, David McCann <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > > > On the question of Japanese, the use of a word like "boku" by men is > > not a grammatical constraint, but a social one. > > > Well, so is the use of "he" to refer to a woman. The sentence "he > wants to talk to you" doesn't suddenly become ungrammatical when you > learn that the referent for the subject is actually female. It > becomes semantically incorrect (because it's considered socially > unacceptable to call a woman a "he"), but grammatically it's still > perfectly sound. Same with "boku" in Japanese, although due to the > nature of Japanese pronouns the semantics are not as clear-cut. No. Would you say that some-one who referred to a table as "il" in French had made a social gaffe or a semantic mistake? It would show that either they didn't know the gender of "table" or they didn't understand the rules for choosing between "il" and "elle". Either would show a lack of grammatical knowledge. Using a pronoun of the wrong gender is a grammatical error, unless you want to redefine "grammar", in which case our discussions won't get very far!