PC Comments

Subject: PC Comments
From: Watson Laughton <LAUGHTON%ALLOY -dot- BITNET -at- PUCC -dot- PRINCETON -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 1994 17:19:00 EST

Dan Lupo asks:

""Are you saying that the "flow" and "sound" of words serve as criteria for
preferred usage? If so, can you support that claim with other examples?""

In Spanish, it is not uncommon to change grammatical rules to prevent the
occurrence of "cacafonia"; for example, the feminine noun "alma" (soul) takes
a masculine definite article ("el alma", rather than "la alma"), because the
flow and sound of "la alma" is considered to be inferior to that of "el alma".

Also, the reason for using "an" rather than "a" as the indefinite article
preceeding nouns that begin with vowels is presumably because the of the
less-than-mellifluous flow and sound of "a aardvark".

Regarding the instant case, there are any number of -man words for which
the -woman variant hasn't caught on: one typically doesn't hear
"boogiewoman", "longshorewoman", "yeowoman", probably in no small
part because they sound so silly. ("Yoewoman! I'm gonna beat that
Apollo Creed!".)

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