23rd 2004f January, 2004

Computer Gender

Posted by Kim in Fun at 11:47 am | Permanent Link

A language teacher was explaining to her class that in French, unlike
their English counterparts, nouns are grammatically designated as
masculine or feminine.

“House” in French, is feminine-“la maison”
“Pencil” in French, is masculine-“le crayon”

One puzzled student asked, “What gender is computer?” The teacher did
not know, and the word was not in her French dictionary. So for fun
she split the class into two groups, appropriately enough by gender,
and asked them to decide whether “computer” should be a masculine or
feminine noun. Both groups were required to give four reasons for their

The men’s group decided that computer should definitely be feminine
(‘la computer’), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is
incomprehensible to everyone else
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible
later retrieval
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half
your pay on accessories for it.

The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine
(‘le computer”) because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on
2. They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they
ARE the problem
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a
little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

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