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Amparo Bertram

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10:59 am: The Gender Wars continue
My senior class had another discussion about nouns with gender on Friday, probably prompted by the previous day's session. Japanese nouns don't have gender, so this is a completely foreign concept for them.

Student1: So you're saying that everything is either a man or a woman? If this paper is a woman, does that mean people think women are like paper?

Teacher: No, it has nothing to do with real people. The word itself has gender. You have to use particles with it, like "la."

Student2: You mean, it's like calling this paper "Paper-kun"? [-kun is a diminutive often used for boys] You would always have to say Paper-kun and not, like, Paper-san?

Teacher: Yes, that's kind of the idea.

Me: <can't resist> You know, some languages don't just have two genders. Some have masculine, feminine, and neuter.

Teacher: <translates> Some languages have men, women, and in-between.

Student1: <amazed> They have o-kama objects?! [o-kama is the Japanese version of "drag queen"]

They were quite fascinated by this concept.

Friday night, the English department had a party at the same place I went last year for Girls' Night Out. For a place that specializes in chicken, they have a fairly decent selection of vegetarian food, and I was easily able to fill up. Toward the end of the meal, we played a game of "men vs. women" where each team was given three clipboards and a topic. The topic would be something like "household appliance maker." The three people with the clipboards would write whatever answer they thought would be most common, then show the clipboards simultaneously. If they were all different, the team got no points. If two people had the same answer, the team got three points, and if all three had the same answer, the team got three points.

The women wound up beating the men with a score of 16-6, and that's including the handicap of having me on the team.

Just as the party was drawing to a close, three other teachers joined us (after their own party) and invited us out for karaoke. We went to a "snack" a few blocks away. In Japanese, a "snack" is a little like a bar-lounge. This one was equipped with karaoke, plus we were the only customers, so we spent about three hours there just drinking and singing.

Well, the others were drinking, but they only had whiskey. I only like sweet drinks. I asked if they had plum wine, but apparently they didn't offer it.

Strangely, toward the end of the evening, the woman running the snack brought me a glass of plum wine. I wonder if she had someone run out and buy a bottle specifically for me. Weird. Anyway, I wound up staying up WAY past my bedtime and not getting home until about midnight.

This morning I got up and continued to work on the handbag for my yukata. It's all finished now except for the drawstring. I made one unfortunate miscalculation when cutting the fabric, but I think it won't be noticeable.

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[User Picture]
Date:June 10th, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC)
Student1: They have o-kama objects?!

ROTFLMAO!! (Almost literally. My next door dorm neighbor just called out: "OK, what are you laughing about over there?")

I so wish I thought there was ANY way I could use this next time I have to teach about neuter nouns in Latin or Greek.
[User Picture]
Date:June 10th, 2005 07:49 pm (UTC)
You mean there are little nouns walking around with no bits?

Poor nouns.

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