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The gender of a computer

<>A language instructor was explaining to her class that in French,

nouns, unlike their English counterparts, are grammatically

designated as masculine or feminine.


'House' for example, is feminine in French (la maison) whilst 'pencil'

is masculine (le crayon). One puzzled student asked "What gender is

'computer?" The teacher did not know and the word wasn't in her

French dictionary. So for fun she split the class into two groups,

appropriately 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 recommendations.


The men's group decided that 'computer' should definitely be of the

feminine gender = '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 the long-term memory for

possible later retrieval, and

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending

half your salary on accessories for it.


The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be

masculine = 'le computer', because:


1. In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on

2. They have a lot of data, but they are still clueless

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems but half

the time they are the problem, and

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you'd

waited a little bit longer you could have got a better model!


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