Gender is as distinctive an indication of human sexual behaviour as it is of denoting the sexual orientation of inanimate objects in Latin-based languages.

Hang on, not so fast! There could be something in this yet: in a world where all family (familia) is like your mother: a nurturing female, food (cibus) is male: bring on that steak, could it be anything but?, and heaven (caelum) is gender neutral: you know, I really do suspect God couldn’t care less, anything is possible after all!

Clearly I shall have to re-think the comparison: bizarrely, grammatical gender may yet reflect reality more accurately than its anatomical partner. And to think I struggled so with declension of Latin nouns!  Oh, now I understand my confusion!  They always contended that language reflects reality, didn’t they?   Perhaps thinking: “We’re teaching kids here. They won’t understand. In fact, it could get much worse: they might misunderstand, and proceed to apply language contra-culturally! Now that would upset the apple cart!”  And let it never be said that Latin class was the hub of subversion!  “Hercle!  Vae mihi!” But it is really the other way round isn’t it? In fact, it’s language that’s real. Life imitates art.  

I like language. It encapsulates an ancient human wisdom that was lost in this tyranny of experiential science:  if there is only one final explanation of fact, its applications are clearly finite and justifiably prescriptive. Language seems to think there isn’t.  And I have never been partial to tyranny.  

God is not that easily found out though, is He now?  Neither are we, I begin to think…      


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