Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Sep 1 00:05:45 UTC 2002

>In a message dated 8/31/2002 1:39:01 PM Central Daylight Time,
>laurence.horn at YALE.EDU writes:
>>  Just curious--why the feminine?  How can we tell whether "(fucking)
>>  drag", "(fashion) mistake", or the noun "retarded" is modifying are
>>  feminine or masculine above?  Not that "quel" would be pronounced any
>>  differently, but...
>>  larry
>Beats me.  That's how Coupland wrote it, and I haven't noticed it in print as
>"quel", so I chose the fem. for my personal quotation as well.  I mean,
>there's really no reason, I guess.  Is there any historical preference for
>fem vs. masc French loans into English?
>Douglas S. Bigham
>University of Texas - Austin

Oops.  Let me retype that; just sent it off half-cocked.

as I was saying...

well, the masculine is unmarked, so I'd think that would be used all
things being equal.  On the other hand, in a couple of cases the
feminine is more established in English.  For obvious reasons, one
such is "nEe" [I'll use capital E for e-with-acute-accent here],
given that men are less likely to use "birth" last names as opposed
to married names.  I've also seen "divorcEe" for divorced men, where
the French would distinguish "divorcE" vs. "divorcEe".  Then there's
"fiancE(e)".  In these cases, the second -e marks feminine in French
and the English loan usually (though not always) maintains the
distinction.  I don't think there are as many non-participial loans
of the sort that "quel(le)" would represent.


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