|A language teacher was explaining to
her class that in French, nouns, unlike their English counterparts, are
grammatically designated as masculine or feminine. For example, house in
French, is feminine - "la maison" pencil in French, is masculine - "le
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
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:
1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for
possible later review; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.
The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be
masculine ('le computer") because:
1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time
they ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.
The women won.