Pfhorrest wrote:Wlerin wrote:Long story short, the word is "he". I'm really getting tired of the confusion between grammatical gender and sex.
I'm really getting tired of languages having grammatically irrelevant characteristics like gender built into their design. Person and number reference basic logical features that can apply to any object... gender though? That's like building "color" into the language, in which case we might be having conversation about whether some abstract object like an abelian group or the number seven take the "light" or "dark" grammatical color. Gender in language is equally ridiculous.
I would not be surprised if there are languages that do this. Be glad that English gender is usually logical. Further, it is not "grammatically irrelevant". For it to be so, the distinction would need to convey no meaning at all.
Categories like gender, number, and person aid in distinguishing pronoun antecedents or verb subjects/objects, as well as many other relationships in other languages. They allow a little more syntactic flexibility, in exchange for having a few more word forms to remember. It wasn't until the early 1900's, when gender began to be used as a euphemism for sex, that this confusion started. The older meaning of gender, as it's etymology indicates, was simply "kind" or "sort" (and thus could include the distinction between male and female, but it is not limited to this distinction).
Lastly, and this is more of a conjecture, but proto-Indo-European gender itself does not appear to have been masculine vs. feminine, but rather animate vs. inanimate, or... perhaps more colloquially, doer (actor) vs. receiver. Again though, it is merely a device to aid in word agreement. Words don't have to fit the logical gender to belong in the grammatical gender.
If you dislike these things that much, go learn Finnish or Chinese. Yes, Chinese. Gender doesn't go hand in hand with a patriarchal society.