Discussion:
original term for female child
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retrosorter
2018-10-05 17:46:24 UTC
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John Ayto's Dictionary of Word Origins tells us that the term "girl" originally designated a child of either sex and that "knave-girl" referred to the male variety but doesn't specify the female version. Was it lass-girl."

thank you
retrosorter
2018-10-05 17:50:52 UTC
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Post by retrosorter
John Ayto's Dictionary of Word Origins tells us that the term "girl" originally designated a child of either sex and that "knave-girl" referred to the male variety but doesn't specify the female version. Was it lass-girl."
thank you
Or possibly "wench-girl"?
b***@ihug.co.nz
2018-10-05 21:15:05 UTC
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Post by retrosorter
Post by retrosorter
John Ayto's Dictionary of Word Origins tells us that the term "girl" originally designated a child of either sex and that "knave-girl" referred to the male variety but doesn't specify the female version. Was it lass-girl."
thank you
Or possibly "wench-girl"?
OED has only one citation of "knave-girl" (1475). They note two
early uses of "gay girl" under sense 2a. A young or relatively young
woman. I suppose that might have been the female equivalent.

But all this is happening within a very short time-span: Pre-1300
history of the word is quite obscure. The dialect evidence supports
the view that it was gender-neutral at one time; but it becomes gendered
very quickly after its first appearance:

first attestation of girl as "child" c1300
as "young woman" a1375
as "female child" c1400.

There may not be much more we can learn from the documentary record.
Daud Deden
2018-10-06 02:11:03 UTC
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Post by b***@ihug.co.nz
Post by retrosorter
Post by retrosorter
John Ayto's Dictionary of Word Origins tells us that the term "girl" originally designated a child of either sex and that "knave-girl" referred to the male variety but doesn't specify the female version. Was it lass-girl."
thank you
Or possibly "wench-girl"?
OED has only one citation of "knave-girl" (1475). They note two
early uses of "gay girl" under sense 2a. A young or relatively young
woman. I suppose that might have been the female equivalent.
But all this is happening within a very short time-span: Pre-1300
history of the word is quite obscure. The dialect evidence supports
the view that it was gender-neutral at one time; but it becomes gendered
first attestation of girl as "child" c1300
as "young woman" a1375
as "female child" c1400.
There may not be much more we can learn from the documentary record.
I don't know.
Possibly variants of gyne/guinea/gin/generates, parallel of guy, guyrl. Girl = ***@Malay.
Jeff Barnett
2018-10-06 03:28:29 UTC
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Post by Daud Deden
Post by b***@ihug.co.nz
Post by retrosorter
Post by retrosorter
John Ayto's Dictionary of Word Origins tells us that the term "girl" originally designated a child of either sex and that "knave-girl" referred to the male variety but doesn't specify the female version. Was it lass-girl."
thank you
Or possibly "wench-girl"?
OED has only one citation of "knave-girl" (1475). They note two
early uses of "gay girl" under sense 2a. A young or relatively young
woman. I suppose that might have been the female equivalent.
But all this is happening within a very short time-span: Pre-1300
history of the word is quite obscure. The dialect evidence supports
the view that it was gender-neutral at one time; but it becomes gendered
first attestation of girl as "child" c1300
as "young woman" a1375
as "female child" c1400.
There may not be much more we can learn from the documentary record.
I don't know.
I was reading something about Montenegro attitudes and language
recently. I got the impression the following dialogue might be common:

Man 1: Tell me about your family.

Man 2: I have three children and a daughter.

I would guess that the above is more a product of attitude than linguistics.
--
Jeff Barnett
Peter T. Daniels
2018-10-06 11:32:45 UTC
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Post by Jeff Barnett
Post by Daud Deden
Post by b***@ihug.co.nz
Post by retrosorter
Post by retrosorter
John Ayto's Dictionary of Word Origins tells us that the term "girl" originally designated a child of either sex and that "knave-girl" referred to the male variety but doesn't specify the female version. Was it lass-girl."
thank you
Or possibly "wench-girl"?
OED has only one citation of "knave-girl" (1475). They note two
early uses of "gay girl" under sense 2a. A young or relatively young
woman. I suppose that might have been the female equivalent.
But all this is happening within a very short time-span: Pre-1300
history of the word is quite obscure. The dialect evidence supports
the view that it was gender-neutral at one time; but it becomes gendered
first attestation of girl as "child" c1300
as "young woman" a1375
as "female child" c1400.
There may not be much more we can learn from the documentary record.
I don't know.
I was reading something about Montenegro attitudes and language
Man 1: Tell me about your family.
Man 2: I have three children and a daughter.
I would guess that the above is more a product of attitude than linguistics.
It's a product of bad translation.

"How many dogs dp you have?" "I have three dogs and a bitch."

"How many horses do you have?" "I have one horse and three mares."

Those are factually incorrect, because in English some gendered terms are
used as the superordinate or general term, and some aren't.

A factually correct answer would be "I have one stallion and three mares."
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2018-10-06 11:47:35 UTC
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Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Jeff Barnett
Post by Daud Deden
Post by b***@ihug.co.nz
Post by retrosorter
Post by retrosorter
John Ayto's Dictionary of Word Origins tells us that the term "girl"
originally designated a child of either sex and that "knave-girl"
referred to the male variety but doesn't specify the female version.
Was it lass-girl."
thank you
Or possibly "wench-girl"?
OED has only one citation of "knave-girl" (1475). They note two
early uses of "gay girl" under sense 2a. A young or relatively young
woman. I suppose that might have been the female equivalent.
But all this is happening within a very short time-span: Pre-1300
history of the word is quite obscure. The dialect evidence supports
the view that it was gender-neutral at one time; but it becomes gendered
first attestation of girl as "child" c1300
as "young woman" a1375
as "female child" c1400.
There may not be much more we can learn from the documentary record.
I don't know.
Possibly variants of gyne/guinea/gin/generates, parallel of guy, guyrl.
I was reading something about Montenegro attitudes and language
Man 1: Tell me about your family.
Man 2: I have three children and a daughter.
I would guess that the above is more a product of attitude than linguistics.
It's a product of bad translation.
Probably. I don't know any Montenegrin Serbian, but consider a
conversation in Spanish:

1. Dígame de su familia.

2. Tengo tres hijos y una hija.

The problem is that "hijos" can mean either "children" or "sons", and
we don't know which is meant. In such a sentence it would usually mean
"sons".

In some countries one could say

2'. Tengo tres machos y una hembra.

But that wouldn't work everywhere, not in Chile, for example, where
"hembras" usually refers to animals, and sounds odd for a child. My
(Chilean) wife was once taken aback when a Venezuelan visitor said she
had "tres hijos, dos machos y una hembra".
Post by Peter T. Daniels
"How many dogs dp you have?" "I have three dogs and a bitch."
"How many horses do you have?" "I have one horse and three mares."
Those are factually incorrect, because in English some gendered terms are
used as the superordinate or general term, and some aren't.
A factually correct answer would be "I have one stallion and three mares."
--
athel
Daud Deden
2018-10-06 12:31:10 UTC
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I know a Cuban women who informed me she has a daughter, a boy daughter. She always says it that way.
wugi
2018-10-06 14:15:51 UTC
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My (Chilean) wife was once taken aback when a Venezuelan visitor said
she had "tres hijos, dos machos y una hembra".
My (Arg.) wife would say:
tres hijos: dos varones y una mujer.

Sounds more polite to me ;-)
--
guido wugi
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2018-10-06 16:10:53 UTC
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Post by wugi
My (Chilean) wife was once taken aback when a Venezuelan visitor said
she had "tres hijos, dos machos y una hembra".
tres hijos: dos varones y una mujer.
Sounds more polite to me ;-)
Yes, that's what my wife would say (except that in her case it wouldn't
be true!).
--
athel
wugi
2018-10-07 20:48:53 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by wugi
My (Chilean) wife was once taken aback when a Venezuelan visitor said
she had "tres hijos, dos machos y una hembra".
tres hijos: dos varones y una mujer.
Sounds more polite to me ;-)
Yes, that's what my wife would say (except that in her case it wouldn't
be true!).
(Well, neither in ours ;-)
--
guido wugi
Peter T. Daniels
2018-10-06 21:29:26 UTC
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Post by wugi
My (Chilean) wife was once taken aback when a Venezuelan visitor said
she had "tres hijos, dos machos y una hembra".
tres hijos: dos varones y una mujer.
Sounds more polite to me ;-)
Two barons and a woman? Trump has a Baron.
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2018-10-07 07:15:07 UTC
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Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by wugi
My (Chilean) wife was once taken aback when a Venezuelan visitor said
she had "tres hijos, dos machos y una hembra".
tres hijos: dos varones y una mujer.
Sounds more polite to me ;-)
Two barons and a woman? Trump has a Baron.
Has he announced his plans yet to restore the monarchy and a hereditary
aristocracy?
--
athel
Jeff Barnett
2018-10-07 20:34:42 UTC
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Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Jeff Barnett
Post by Daud Deden
Post by b***@ihug.co.nz
Post by retrosorter
Post by retrosorter
John Ayto's Dictionary of Word Origins tells us that the term "girl" originally designated a child of either sex and that "knave-girl" referred to the male variety but doesn't specify the female version. Was it lass-girl."
thank you
Or possibly "wench-girl"?
OED has only one citation of "knave-girl" (1475). They note two
early uses of "gay girl" under sense 2a. A young or relatively young
woman. I suppose that might have been the female equivalent.
But all this is happening within a very short time-span: Pre-1300
history of the word is quite obscure. The dialect evidence supports
the view that it was gender-neutral at one time; but it becomes gendered
first attestation of girl as "child" c1300
as "young woman" a1375
as "female child" c1400.
There may not be much more we can learn from the documentary record.
I don't know.
I was reading something about Montenegro attitudes and language
Man 1: Tell me about your family.
Man 2: I have three children and a daughter.
I would guess that the above is more a product of attitude than linguistics.
It's a product of bad translation.
"How many dogs dp you have?" "I have three dogs and a bitch."
"How many horses do you have?" "I have one horse and three mares."
Those are factually incorrect, because in English some gendered terms are
used as the superordinate or general term, and some aren't.
A factually correct answer would be "I have one stallion and three mares."
I don't think bad translation had anything to do with it. It took a
while for me to find the source of the above. It comes from an article
in the book "The Archie Goodwin Files," edited by Marvin Kaye and is
still available at Amazon.com. The particular article of interest is
"The Black Mountain Revisited" by Marina Stajic, PhD based on a talk she
gave to a Nero Wolfe society `Wolfe Pack' meeting in 1989.

She was born near Montenegro and spent much time there. At the time of
her talk she lived in the USA and is/was Director of the Forensic
Toxicology Laboratory at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, City
of New York. Her writings show a grasp of English and humor that will
make many of us envious. I believe that she meant the above snippet to
show exactly the male bias humor that pops out of it.

Since I neither speak nor know any of the languages used in that area of
the world, I could of course be off base. However, I'd like to hear from
someone who has spent some time in that culture.
--
Jeff Barnett
Peter T. Daniels
2018-10-08 03:14:42 UTC
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Post by Jeff Barnett
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Jeff Barnett
Post by Daud Deden
Post by b***@ihug.co.nz
Post by retrosorter
Post by retrosorter
John Ayto's Dictionary of Word Origins tells us that the term "girl" originally designated a child of either sex and that "knave-girl" referred to the male variety but doesn't specify the female version. Was it lass-girl."
thank you
Or possibly "wench-girl"?
OED has only one citation of "knave-girl" (1475). They note two
early uses of "gay girl" under sense 2a. A young or relatively young
woman. I suppose that might have been the female equivalent.
But all this is happening within a very short time-span: Pre-1300
history of the word is quite obscure. The dialect evidence supports
the view that it was gender-neutral at one time; but it becomes gendered
first attestation of girl as "child" c1300
as "young woman" a1375
as "female child" c1400.
There may not be much more we can learn from the documentary record.
I don't know.
I was reading something about Montenegro attitudes and language
Man 1: Tell me about your family.
Man 2: I have three children and a daughter.
I would guess that the above is more a product of attitude than linguistics.
It's a product of bad translation.
"How many dogs dp you have?" "I have three dogs and a bitch."
"How many horses do you have?" "I have one horse and three mares."
Those are factually incorrect, because in English some gendered terms are
used as the superordinate or general term, and some aren't.
A factually correct answer would be "I have one stallion and three mares."
I don't think bad translation had anything to do with it. It took a
while for me to find the source of the above. It comes from an article
in the book "The Archie Goodwin Files," edited by Marvin Kaye and is
still available at Amazon.com. The particular article of interest is
"The Black Mountain Revisited" by Marina Stajic, PhD based on a talk she
gave to a Nero Wolfe society `Wolfe Pack' meeting in 1989.
She was born near Montenegro and spent much time there. At the time of
her talk she lived in the USA and is/was Director of the Forensic
Toxicology Laboratory at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, City
of New York. Her writings show a grasp of English and humor that will
make many of us envious. I believe that she meant the above snippet to
show exactly the male bias humor that pops out of it.
Since I neither speak nor know any of the languages used in that area of
the world, I could of course be off base. However, I'd like to hear from
someone who has spent some time in that culture.
I don't see that anyone quoted anything that was written, either in English
or in Montenegrin, by anyone. What I see is attempts at literal translations
of Montenegrin expressions, where the _literal_ translation is obviously
not the right way to translate the presumable Montenegrin sentences that
underlie them.

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