Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Off topic: "Hen" is official now
Thread poster: Heinrich Pesch

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:03
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Jul 30, 2014

According to my Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat the Swedish academy has decided that "hen" will be included in the official dictionary of the Swedish language as additional, gender-neutral pronoun for third person singular together with the traditional "han" and "hon" (he/she).

The hen-pronoun is already widely used in many contexts.

[Bearbeitet am 2014-07-30 06:29 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:03
English to German
+ ...
... Jul 30, 2014

For a moment I thought this title in the forum topics list is blue for belonging to "lighter side of translation" and was sure the old issue about who was first was finally solved (probably by Engrish.com or so).

"So it was the hen!"

But then I clicked the topic and it was a very interesting one...

("So the egg is still in the game...")

Really interesting, although this topic does not belong to any of my language pairs...

In Germany, we recently had the "Herr Professorin" joke walking around the media until it finally came out that this joke actually never was there and "Herr Professorin" was never proposed by anyone in that Leipzig university.
Guess we'll still have to stick with the gender issue for a while. Germans have their "es" but for "seine", "ihre"... there's no neutral form in sight for now. (The neutral form is the male form.)

Although we actually have a neutrum as a Bundeskanzler. (The satirical magazine "Titanic" years ago landed one of their really well-known and widely quoted cover titles... "Darf DAS Kanzler werden?" in BILD-style... a great title.
The people on the streets currently call her "das Bundesmerkel" - I love this city





[Edited at 2014-07-30 08:24 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:03
Spanish to English
+ ...
Clucky for some Jul 30, 2014

"Hen" is a widely used term of endearment (or condescension, if you prefer) where I come from...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Scots_language/Archive1

PS: If we accept the scientific and evolutionary view, the egg came first, as birds - including chickens - descended from dinosaurs, which laid eggs.

[Edited at 2014-07-30 09:07 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:03
English
+ ...
Sorry. Just couldn't help myself. Jul 30, 2014

neilmac wrote:


PS: If we accept the scientific and evolutionary view, the egg came first, as birds - including chickens - descended from dinosaurs, which laid eggs.

[Edited at 2014-07-30 09:07 GMT]




[Edited at 2014-07-30 15:47 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 05:03
Japanese to English
+ ...
Yep Jul 30, 2014

neilmac wrote:

PS: If we accept the scientific and evolutionary view, the egg came first, as birds - including chickens - descended from dinosaurs, which laid eggs.

[Edited at 2014-07-30 09:07 GMT]


Yes, as Neil deGrasse Tyson said:
Just to settle it once and for all: Which came first the Chicken or the Egg? The Egg -- laid by a bird that was not a Chicken.


On topic, though, I really wish that we could somehow decide on a gender-neutral third-person pronoun for English. I don't care what is chosen, I just want to stop wasting time trying to figure out how to rearrange sentences to avoid saying the awkward "he or she."


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 04:03
Chinese to English
Never happen Jul 30, 2014

Orrin Cummins wrote:

On topic, though, I really wish that we could somehow decide on a gender-neutral third-person pronoun for English. I don't care what is chosen, I just want to stop wasting time trying to figure out how to rearrange sentences to avoid saying the awkward "he or she."

We're just stuck in English: they is fine in informal circumstances; in hypotheticals you can just switch to she; and in other situations you can use the ugly "he or she," use he and apologise, or reformulate. That is, our piecemeal options reduce the pressure just enough that there's no desperate need for another pronoun, so we'll never get one. The only possible way it might happen is if someone at Microsoft has a brainwave and inserts one into their spellcheck - Word seems to pretty much control the language these days!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:03
Member (2012)
French to English
It Jul 30, 2014

Just a thought: I think if we started using "it", people would soon get used to it. After all, (unborn) human babies have been referred to as "it" for ages. Many people would welcome "it", I reckon. It's just a question of accustomisation.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 14:03
German to English
It Jul 30, 2014

Jane Austen wrote its first major novel in 1798. Wonderful.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:03
Romanian to English
+ ...
It Jul 30, 2014

And once a gender-neutral pronoun is widely used, would everything ever written (especially literature, history, etc.) be "edited" into this... politically correct language?

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:03
Member (2012)
French to English
no ... Jul 30, 2014

Annamaria Amik wrote:

And once a gender-neutral pronoun is widely used, would everything ever written (especially literature, history, etc.) be "edited" into this... politically correct language?


Obviously, we would keep 'he' and 'she' if we know the gender of the person concerned, as they do in French, etc.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:03
Member (2012)
French to English
Why would you do that? Jul 30, 2014

Kim Metzger wrote:

Jane Austen wrote its first major novel in 1798. Wonderful.


We know her gender, so do not need a gender-neutral pronoun.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:03
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Controversial, I suppose Jul 30, 2014

Well, I believe language must and eventually will reflect changes in society.

Traditionally it was natural to refer to he and she, because biological gender defined clearly different roles and characters in human society. The majority of us still live in cultures where it seems natural to divide people into these two groups. But in societies like Sweden (Finnish language never had a distinction between he and she) the gender gap is becoming non-existent. So keeping up the linguistic distinction is as unimportant as would be a linguistic distinction between people of fair and dark skin.

"It" is reserved for non-human individuals and children, using "it" as gender-neutral pronoun in English ("es" in German) would put all "eggs into the same basket".

Besides there are human beings that cannot be defined as either masculine or feminine. The existence of this "third gender" is one reason behind the decision of the Swedish academy.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:03
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Pronoun usage and gender roles Jul 31, 2014

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Traditionally it was natural to refer to he and she, because biological gender defined clearly different roles and characters in human society.


Some languages have different pronouns to refer to he and she. Other languages use one pronoun for both. I don't think there is any evidence that the extent to which biological gender defines different "roles and characters" in different societies is reflected in this difference in pronoun usage. Swedish distinguishes between he and she, Finnish doesn't. Neither does Turkish. Have "roles and characters" been less defined by biological gender in Finland and Turkey than in Sweden?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:03
Italian to English
The genderation game Jul 31, 2014

Michele Fauble wrote:

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Traditionally it was natural to refer to he and she, because biological gender defined clearly different roles and characters in human society.


Some languages have different pronouns to refer to he and she. Other languages use one pronoun for both. I don't think there is any evidence that the extent to which biological gender defines different "roles and characters" in different societies is reflected in this difference in pronoun usage. Swedish distinguishes between he and she, Finnish doesn't. Neither does Turkish. Have "roles and characters" been less defined by biological gender in Finland and Turkey than in Sweden?


Pronouns aren't the only way to indicate gender. Even in relatively gender-neutral languages, there are plenty of semantic and other opportunities to communicate perceptions of sex/gender. For us translators, this sort of thing gets interesting when our target language apparently obliges us to select a gender where the source may have kept the information - as yet - undisclosed (the reverse case is usually easier to deal with), creating hiccups in the flow of the discourse.

But that's what people pay us for: reformulating thought while maintaining equivalent content and impact.

Brucie


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:03
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting question Jul 31, 2014

Michele Fauble wrote:

Some languages have different pronouns to refer to he and she. Other languages use one pronoun for both. I don't think there is any evidence that the extent to which biological gender defines different "roles and characters" in different societies is reflected in this difference in pronoun usage. Swedish distinguishes between he and she, Finnish doesn't. Neither does Turkish. Have "roles and characters" been less defined by biological gender in Finland and Turkey than in Sweden?


Who knows? Do you?
We must not forget, that languages have evolved over thousands of years. Perhaps the proto-turkish society was more gender-neutral than the state we use to call Turkey. In Finnish ancient society women were perhaps more influential than men, if you believe the Kalevala.
I don't know anything about the Turkish language, I only know that Turks believe there is a common ancestor of Finnish and Turkey thousands of years back.

I reckon culture precedes language, first the culture evolves and then, eventually, the language follows suite.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Fernanda Rocha[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

"Hen" is official now

Advanced search






TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search