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Monday 20 October 2003

What gender is 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,” 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, 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 recommendation.

The men's group decided that computers should definitely be of the feminine gender (“la computer”), because:

No one but their creator understands their internal logic
The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else
Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for possible later retrieval
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:

In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on
They have a lot of data but they are still clueless
They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem
As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you'd waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.
The women won!

(The source for this is unattributed)

October 20, 2003 5:44 PM | Random Humour

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