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Je 03:21 ptm 1/29/98 -0500, Robin GASKELL skribis:
 
>        But the example of an absence of sophistication in language, that
I can
>attest to, is the absence of differentiated male and female pronouns in
>Persian and in Chinese.  I have discussed the lack of a he/she difference
>with people from both of these language groups.  Both the Assyrian and
>Chinese civilisations
>are older than the one which produced the English language, but this lack
>of gender differentiation seems, to me, to be more "primitive", or "less
>evolved", than the situation in English where we can tell whether it is he
>or she.
>
I have just about got to repost this over to soc.culture.esperanto, where
there is a small group advocating a neutral pronoun "ri" to _replace_ li =3D
he, =FEi =3D she, claiming this to be a more civilized attitude than the one
represented by the need to make a distinction between the sexes...
 
Now I may be accused of the vile crime of "cultural relativism" by asking
this, but how is a _linguistic_ capability of distinguishing male from
female in an utterance particularly more sophisticated than simply
recognizing everybody as human? (I would not argue that it is _less_
sophisticated, however...) I am not willing to believe that all of Chinese,
Persian, Hungarian, Finnish, Turkish (I think) and who knows what others
are primitive or less evolved simply because they don't have this
particular feature that English does.
 
(Also, what does Persion have to do with the Assyrian civilization, which
was in a slightly different part of the world?)
 
-- Don HARLOW
http://www.webcom.com/~donh/
(English version: http://www.webcom.com/~donh/dona.html)