A while ago, Tom Scott, a qualified linguist who makes a living at explaining interesting things on YouTube, made a video about gender in language. It was partly about gender-neutral pronouns in English, and partly about gendered nouns in languages which have them (primarily European languages, where gender tends to match up with sex; in many other languages, genders are more like “animate” and “inanimate”, or “communal property” and “individual property”). He touched on how gendered nouns do actually have some effect on the way we think: Germans speakers and Italian speakers have different (and gender-influenced) perceptions of the connotations of keys, for example. It’s an interesting watch.
However, while Tom Scott has a qualification in linguistics, he does not actually work in that field. Furthermore, he is a native speaker only of English.
Another YouTuber, the Metatron, recently made a video on pretty much the same topic: feminine and masculine nouns in Romance Languages. The Metatron is Italian, and natively speaks Sicilian Italian. He also speaks French, English, and Japanese. He too has a qualification in linguistics, and actually works in the field, as a translator and a teacher. His YouTube videos are on too main topics: mediaeval warfare and linguistics.
Being doubly qualified, as a linguist and as a native speaker, does the Metatron have anything interesting to say on this subject? Of course he does. Yes, gender in the language does of course affect ones perception of objects, and even of abstract nouns. The personification of strength would, to the Metatron, naturally be female.
The Metatron’s video is not a direct response to Tom Scott’s, which was from some years ago. Tom rarely does linguistics videos these days.
That’s the whole conundrum of invoking God as the singular rationale for or against public policy—God says lots of different things to lots of different people, and all of them think that they’re right. Melissa McEwan, “MREWYB“, Shakesville.
Yup. Melissa McEwan is there talking specifically about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, but her point is broadly applicable.
The top three results for why people tried to change their sexual orientation included “To be a better Christian,” “I believed it was what God wanted me to do,” and “I feared I would be condemned by God.” After that comes such responses as a general desire to fit in, cultural pressures to conform, and a desire to please family and friends. But beyond the numbers lie the written responses of survey participants which illustrates the huge variety of their experiences
Question 8 asked why they quit the ex-gay movement. The top answer, by far, was that they failed to become straight. But one disturbing answer given by nearly a quarter of respondents was that they had had a nervous breakdown.
Only a relatively small minority of this particular sample, less than ten percent, say they weren’t harmed by their participation in the ex-gay movement.
The National Organization for Marriage has been spreading a host of falsehoods about research into same-sex parenting. Every so I often I lob a tweet about this to Thomas Peters, NOM’s Communications Director. He never replies, which is a shame, because I’ve always wanted to know what he’d say when confronted with these blatant…inaccuracies.
Well, Rob Tisinai finally managed to get through to Thomas Peters. Anyone want three guesses on how he reacted? Well, here’s the answer:
So now I know what Thomas Peters will do when confronted with NOM’s falsehoods: He’ll act like facts don’t matter.
I have to think segregation of straight and gay relationships has a detrimental effect on gays. It denotes the inferiority of gay relationships. It leaves gays with an attitude of futility when it comes to commitment.
This year Ireland, as part of its new civil partnerships law, decided to recognize marriages – and similar institutions – from other nations as civil partnerships within its borders.
Ireland didn’t miss any country which recognises same-sex marriage, but it did miss various other “civil union” and “domestic partnership” arrangements, even some which were identical to marriage in all but name. Terminology: it matters.
Here are three stories. They’re about about discrimination and they’re about about gay and trans people.
Maggie Gallagher rebuts Maggie Gallagher, in which arguments purportedly against marriage equality actually appear to work better as arguments for it. (This leads to a comment thread on the subject of adoption, which I feel to tired to take in right now.)
Transman files complaint against spa, in which I’m confused. This article is possibly transphobic (I don’t think it is, but I could well be wrong); some of the comments certainly are. But the issue it brings up is interesting, and I really should be diving into the comment thread (which is very long for BTB), reading everything, possibly posting a little myself, and at least thinking about the relevant issues. I’m not. I’m tired.
Jeanne Manford, founder of PFLAG, died today. She did an amazing amount of work (and created a well-known brand in the process: everyone knows PFLAG). Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin called her “our mom“.