Gender in language

Damien R. Sullivan (
Mon, 23 Mar 1998 16:59:04 -0800 (PST)

On Mar 23, 4:17pm, "Geoff Smith" wrote:
> Subject: Re: Stroustrup's Confession (bogus?)

> germanly repressed myself! Give me a break, you could equally argue that
> girls are neuter because they transcend the distinction between male and
> female. I don't think a language represses certain groups, it just lowers

Girls transcend the distinction how?

> > Where does the "wo" in "woman" actually come from?
> I always figured it was "womb" + "man", but no... it is from Old English
> "wifmon", meaning "wife man." That sounds very accurate... in many places

I think I've read that Old English originally had another word meaning 'male
humans' and that 'man' was originally restricted to its inclusive sense, like
andros and gynos vs. anthropos in Greek. Can anyone confirm this? I find
that 'Man' and 'Mankind' work much better in poetry than 'human' and
'humanity', and would rather record a word for 'male human' rather than change
the species-word. This would also save 'chairman' and the like.

-xx- GSV Cynical Optimist X-)

"I'm inspired by the MIR situation, in a back-door sort of way...
It demonstrates that space can be inhabited by a duct-tape culture
(Apollo 13 was a disaster - Mir kludgery is SOP)." -- Clark Brooks