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Forced to use (gender) language conventions in university

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Arent11, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Arent11

    Arent11 King

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    Yesterday I went to a birthday party. Was fun. But one of my friends told me around ~2 o' clock that he is studying math & french/romanistics. And there, he wrote an essay, where he got bad grades for the sole reason that he didn't use "genderized" language (In case you don't know, it means using a silly * inside the word to include potential third genders or something in between).

    He did, of course, confront the lecturer & she didn't deny giving him bad grades because he didn't use the "right" language. It is also fruitless to contact her higher ups because the faculty is more or less in the hands of these morons & he could get in serious trouble. He wants, of course to graduate & not "flee" to another university.
    I told him he could write a blog article, which might, sometimes, be taken up by larger newspapers & get the faculty into the public spotlight.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    Your friend should take their lumps and move on.
     
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  3. Manfred Belheim

    Manfred Belheim Moaner Lisa

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    Can you be more specific about what you mean by that? You mean like.... literally writing ma*n or something?
     
  4. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Is this a policy of the institution itself, or just that one lecturer?

    All these new unofficial rules make me glad that my days of typing academic papers are long over. This would drive me nuts, trying to cater to each individual instructor.

    Back then, it was the normal thing to say, "when in doubt, follow the APA manual or the MLA manual, whichever the instructor specifies."
     
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  5. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    You're talking about pronouns, right? :huh: The answer is simple: Use nouns. For 'zample.

    At aprx. !8:30, two masked individuals brandishing handguns entered the grocer store. The taller fired a single shot into the ceiling and loudly demanded "the money." The shorter suspect backed against the south wall and kept the store employees and customers covered. The manager suddenly appeared from out of the store office and screamed, :"What are you doing?!" Both suspects turned their guns on the manager and fired several times, resulting in immediate death. The employees and customers attempted to take cover, but they were rooted out, with the customers being forced to line up against the south wall while the cashiers were forced at gunpoint to empty their tills into a large canvas bags.

    As the suspects attempted to flee, a squad car with Deputies Smith and Jones arrived. Gunfire erupted, resulting in in the deaths of both suspects. Deputy Jones received a wound to the right bicep, and was transported to St. Jude's Hospital.

    Note: No one's gender or sexual orientation can be ascertained from the above language. :smug:
     
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  6. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    That works in English, but not in other languages where nouns can imply a gender as well as pronouns. The *, which I never have seen used in English for gender neutral language, makes me suspect the language of that essay was not English.
     
  7. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    You wouldn't want to see what these people do to the German language. Stuff become unreadable for anybody not educated in social justice.

    @topic: He should probably keep his head down and do what they ask of him while he still needs the goodwill of the people on that university. Realistically, there is not much he can achieve I think other than ruining his own education, it's just too minor of an issue to really make headlines.
     
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  8. Lemon Merchant

    Lemon Merchant Superconductor Moderator

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    Yet another example of academic stupidity. I am so glad I'm done with all of that.
     
  9. EnglishEdward

    EnglishEdward Deity

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    The question that I would ask is: is your friend paying the university OR is the university paying your friend?
     
  10. Gori the Grey

    Gori the Grey The Poster

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    Was th** expectation clearly communicated, eith*r in th* course syllabus or on th* specific assignm*nt sheet for th* essay?

    If not, I think your friend should contact the departm*nt chair. Not in a confrontational way, but in an exploratory way. It may well be, as you say, that th* oth*r people on th* faculty are on board for th** initiative, but, th*y might neverth*less think it is too harsh or arbitrary to give a much lower grade simply for not following that one rule. Your friend could offer to em*nd th* essay, to bring it in line with th*se standards.

    If th* policy was clearly stated, and h* was deliberately flouting it, th*n I don't think h* has much of a case.
     
  11. CKS

    CKS Deity

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    Not following the required conventions is a good way to get a bad grade, and, in school, your instructor gets to say what the required conventions are, just as, on the job, your boss decides. I agree with Gori - if the expectations were made clear, your friend is out of luck. If the expectations were not made clear, then a calm discussion with the lecturer's supervisor may be helpful.
     
  12. Arent11

    Arent11 King

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    This is in a German university. I could give you examples in German (Like writing "Professor*Innen" or *Student*Innen"). I actually don't exactly know how this translates to English, however I am aware of a canadian professor (That is, of course, much more famous than my friend), who had the same problem:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37875695

    "like the singular 'they' or 'ze' and 'zir', used by some as alternatives to 'she' or 'he'."

    So, apparently in English its not a * that is used but some kind of other construct.

    He is doing exactly that right now.
     
  13. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    I would have done research on the University I enrolled in ahead of time and not applied to a University administered by morons.

    However, if this is some sort of a very specific writing class in which you practice how to do things a certain way, then I don't see the problem, also assuming the professor made it clear what KJ**x6H^TKLT expectations were ahead of time
     
  14. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    The English equivalent would be s/he or he/she | his/hers | him/her, which, I might add, is pretty common practice for American University students. I tend to use a nongendered singular "they/them" because the practice is well attested in historical English and because it looks more elegant than s/he or "he or she", because, much like "one", the practices very quickly becomes absurdly unwieldy. The singular they also has the added benefit of not imposing by implication a gender binary, as he/she or s/he does.

    I don't think the Professor's demand is at all overbearing.
     
  15. Arent11

    Arent11 King

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    It's just about french/romanistics. It doesn't have to do anything with gender or writing classes whatsoever.

    It's actually exactly similar to the canadian case:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37875695

    "Dr Peterson was especially frustrated with being asked to use alternative pronouns as requested by trans students or staff, like the singular 'they' or 'ze' and 'zir', used by some as alternatives to 'she' or 'he'.[...]

    His employers have warned that, while they support his right to academic freedom and free speech, he could run afoul of the Ontario Human Rights code and his faculty responsibilities should he refuse to use alternative pronouns when requested."
     
  16. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Is it? Pronouns in that case only come into play when you are talking about someone in the 3rd person. So all this professor has to do is not talk about transgendered people in the 3rd person.

    Actually, wouldn't that be the case of the essay too? Just don't write an essay about someone transgendered. But maybe I am missing something.
     
  17. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    People who whine about their bad grades at parties aren't much fun.
     
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  18. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Deity

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    We had this in the beginning of the 80-ies. Mostly at universities and social academies.
    So the Dutch words medewerker (male for worker, mitarbeiter) and medewerkster (female) became medewerker(ster). Machinist and machiniste (traindriver) became machinist(e).
    It became a little more difficult with a word like verpleger (male nurse) and verpleegster (female), but verpleger(ster) did still cover it.
    At the end of the 80-ies it became less strict to use that ***(ster) and ***(e) for all relevant words, though it survived for some words in government and government paid institutions. It however never reached the common people.
    It did however spark new words being neutral. For verpleger/verpleegster we now use verpleegkundige (nursing-able person) as social correct wording.
    These words are slowly pushing out the old words, also for the the common people.
     
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  19. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Is that all this is? Then IMO it's 100% fine.

    Assuming that the words have caught on and are being used, such as salesperson, then it makes sense to teach students to use that, when you're referring to a gender ambiguous groups of people.

    If the word hasn't caught on yet, then I dunno where I stand on this. We still seem to use words like hero and heroine instead of having a gender neutral word for that. And nobody seems to care.
     
  20. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Deity

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    The nicety of new, gender-neutral words, is that there is a 1:1 between what you say and what you write down AND that everybody can pick those words up, also by people who do not write often.
    So replacing is the best way to go.

    What you mention with hero and heroine (for me held and heldin) poses imo a real problem if there is no fitting alternative word and you want to be 100% strict.
    You can ofc circumvent it by describing what you mean, perhaps using the word heroic, instead of using a (probably shorter) sentence if you had that one word. But I feel that as unelegant, and why would we decrease our toolset, the richness of our vocabulary ?

    My personal solution (in Dutch) is to use gender-neutral or circumventing where good enough possible and be tolerant where it starts to mess up.
     

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