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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!