Gender in Esperanto
Okay, we all know the family words in Esperanto: patro is father, patrino, mother, and gepatroj, parents, and the same with other words. I was always under the impression parent was gepatro; however, I recently read this was not true. What's the right word, and if not gepatro, why not?
I think generally the best way to say 'parent' in Esperanto is 'patro aŭ patrino' or 'zorganto'. I realize that 'zorganto' actually means 'guardian' but isn't each parent a guardian at heart?
All that means is that someone edited that dictionary to include that information. I've given my thoughts on the matter above - and this entry (in Reta Vortaro) is just one of the many things I considered when coming to my conclusion.
I hate it that languages are so gender-defined. It's really irritating.
I always thought ge- could be used with a singular word, because using it in that context should still make sense to everyone. Right? I mean, for a language that's supposed to be universal, the least we could do is bend an affix to be gender-anonymous. Using ge- with a singular word isn't changing its both-sexes meaning, it's just sort of… expanding its meaning. That's how I see it at least, but I realize I'm not such a stickler for the 1880's rules.
Maybe people will sort this out in my lifetime, but I get the feeling I'll still be buried with the -in- suffix.
Not all languages are quite so gender-defined. Just the European languages (and those based on them) seem to be particularly bad (although there are plenty of language groups I can't speak for).
I'd say languages where you have to be gender specific even on pronouns ("I (a male) love you (a female)" vs. "I (a female) love you (a male)" etc.) are quite a bit worse.
for the record, Esperanto, as a whole, is not "so gender-defined"; less than 20 words are.
True. I am thankful that both English and Esperanto don't assign gender to all nouns, adjectives, etc. I'm just being picky…. But in my defense, Esperanto promised me only the best.
That is a real low ball estimate. There are "several dozen" inherently masculine words most referring to kinship, nobility, religious positions, and domestic animals and there are "several dozen" feminine roots most referring to women (and of course some are insults), professions (mostly related to dancing or sex work), titles, and mythological figures.
most of the animal words are now epicene. as to the feminine roots, nobody seems to be all that bothered by them, do they?
You didn't say "There are several dozen gender-defined words, but a number of them are epicene". You said "less than 20 words are [gender-defined]".
Issues like this, and the underlying assumption of male being the default, are why I support (and use) iĉismo - effectively a male version of the -in- affix. Then, stems without a suffix can be a non-gendered version. Under iĉismo, "patro" is parent, "patrino" is mother (as it usually is), and "patriĉo" is father. Some people like that change, other people don't, but really, it doesn't harm understanding at all.
Vikipedio link for more info (including some of the criticism of this approach): https://eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%C4%89ismo
Ugh! This again! I personally would be happiest with a new group of root words for the epicene (gender-vague) words: parent, sibling, etc. and let the iĉistoj go to town. I really think this solution would rile up the fewest people. After all, "komputilo=computer" was added to the language, why not "*tevo=parent"? (no, "tevo" is not a real Esperanto word; I just used it as an example)
But until that happens, I'll be saying "gepatro" etc. I know it irritates some of the more pedantic folks in Esperantujo, but it's a lot shorter than "unu el la gepatroj", so there it is.
It's funny though; the same people who are all descriptivist ("This is how the language is actually being used, so we should go with the flow") about such things as "ujo vs io" for country names, suddenly get all prescriptivist (THAT'S THE RULE!!! FOLLOW IT!!!) when it comes to (among other things) "ge-" with a singular noun.