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A language instructor was explaining to her class that in French,
nouns, unlike their English counterparts, 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 wasn't in her French dictionary. So for fun she split
the class into two groups, 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 computers 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 long-term memory for possible
later retrieval; and
4) As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half
your pay-check 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
longer, you could have got a better model.
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