A language teacher 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 a computer?
The teacher did not know, and the word was not 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 a feminine noun. Both
groups were required to give four reasons for their recommendation.
The men's group decided that computer 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
- Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later review;
- 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
The women won.
- In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
- They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
- They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they
are the problem; and
- As soon as you commit yourself to one, you realise that if you had waited a little
longer, you could have gotten a better model.