Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Latin and French nouns are gender-specific

by Rob - September 8th, 2008.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

So, today, I was at a writers’ festival, and, when it was time to do my autographing, I was sitting next to a very nice female writer. She had a copy of her book, and I asked if I could see it. I turned to the back and read the “About the Author,” which said she “is an alumnus of …”

No, I pointed out to her, she’s not. She’s an alumna of said program (or, if one prefers gender-neutral language, she’s a graduate of or an alum of said program).

And, just yesterday, a female friend sent me a note on FaceBook saying, “My fiancée just surprised me with November’s Analog – good story!”

To which I replied, “Thanks! But unless it’s a gay wedding, he’s your fiancé (but you are his fiancée).”

(A gender-neutral phrasing would be, “My bethrothed …” or “My intended …”)

(I knew it wasn’t a gay wedding because the lucky man’s picture was on her FaceBook page.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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