SSi Forum

Gender neutrality


This discussion has made me worry about the pain I’m causing my native Welsh-speaking friends when I speak to them in Welsh. :worried::laughing:
I’ve always felt that I am honouring their language, but if it hurts them this much … ??


If it’s their language it’s yours as well.

The first person to mention S-M gets axed.
To leave, keep calm and read Thomasina’s post…


I reckon there’s no harm in axing…

The ‘k’ and the ‘s’ in ‘ask’ have swapped places with each other all the way back to Old English times – a LanguageLog thread on whether or not Barack Obama was fairly criticised by Rush Limbaugh for deliberately using ‘black dialect’ [Narrator’s voice: he wasn’t] had the following comment:

The OED entry is quite helpful, here

Common Teut.: OE. áscian was cogn. w. OFris. âskia, OS. êscôn, êscan, OHG. eiscôn, MHG. eischen, Ger. heischen, OTeut. *aiskôjan: cf. Skr. ish to seek, ichchhā wish. The original long á gave regularly the ME. (Kentish) ōxi; but elsewhere was shortened before the two consonants, giving ME. a, and, in some dialects, e. The result of these vowel changes, and of the OE. metathesis asc-, acs-, was that ME. had the types ōx, ax, ex, ask, esk, ash, esh, ass, ess. The true representative of the orig. áscian was the s.w. and w.midl. ash, esh, also written esse (cf. æsce ash, wæsc(e)an wash), now quite lost. Acsian, axian, survived in ax, down to nearly 1600 the regular literary form, and still used everywhere in midl. and south. dialects, though supplanted in standard English by ask, originally the northern form. Already in 15th c. the latter was reduced dialectally to asse, pa. tense ast, still current dialectally.

Ax is still current in some British dialects, although, like in the US, it is commonly disparaged as an error, and lots of people who use ax in informal speech will switch to ask in more formal settings.

Apparently Chaucer has ‘ax’ all the way through the Canterbury Tales, and we can compare Old English wæps/wæsp ‘wasp’ (still alive in my mum’s childhood ‘wapsies’) and English ‘tusk’ with Old English tux etc.

Just sayin’.


Hmmm, I’ll still be axing my students to correct it to asking :wink:


To change it to asking, surely. :joy::wink:


Any more of this and I’ll lose the ability to speak English completely :rofl:


Dwi ‘di ‘neud hynny eisoes. Cymraeg yn unig imi nawr…