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mugaliens
2009-Mar-08, 12:45 PM
A colleague of mine remarked on Friday how exciting it would be if NASA began using the "appropriate" form of the terms for space explorers for those who're female, saying, "When space exploration began, only men were involved. Now that women are involved, we need to recognize that."

The idea is to use "astranaut" and "cosmanaut" for female space explorers.

What do you think?

Although this person speaks Spanish, and cited the fact that Latin languages distinguish gender, I might add that the genderized Spanish forms of astronaut are el astronauta and la astronauta, with the gender reflected solely in the el and la definate articles, and absent in the noun itself. I pointed out that the gender of a noun in Spanish is usually characterized by its ending (o vs a), and not a letter in the middle.

Note: Because of the explosive nature of rocket fuel, I will avoid mentioning this individual's gender...

bunker9603
2009-Mar-08, 01:36 PM
I think we should drop the term all together...it is so 1960's :) Maybe we should just call them Space Explorers or Space Travelers.

Haibara
2009-Mar-08, 01:43 PM
I don't know......

There are female military officers and I don't think they have different terms for the ranks like Brigadia General... or something....

hhEb09'1
2009-Mar-08, 01:58 PM
Gotta go to Space/Time Explorers now, or Spate Explorers, maybe Spime Exers. I kinda like Spime Travelers, but Spimers works too.

grant hutchison
2009-Mar-08, 02:14 PM
Odd. Folks who want to change the language really ought to get their act together on this one.
We had much flailing around a couple of decades ago in an effort to eliminate gender-specific nouns: so we had "chair" instead of "chairman/chairwoman"; "postal worker" instead of "postman"; the ill-fated "waitron" instead of "waiter/waitress" (now we have "server"); and all actors are now "actors" regardless of gender, I'm told (apparently anyone still described as an "actress" probably doesn't actually act ...)
I see no harm in gender-specific nouns, and no harm in gender-neutral nouns. But it would just be nice if the axe-grinders could sort out their thoughts on the matter.

Grant Hutchison

hhEb09'1
2009-Mar-08, 02:24 PM
But it would just be nice if the axe-grinders could sort out their thoughts on the matter.
But, as usual, the axe-grinders/esses are on both sides of the fences/esses, the fence just gets whacked to pieces without any mortal blows being dealt.

grant hutchison
2009-Mar-08, 03:02 PM
But, as usual, the axe-grinders/esses are on both sides of the fences/esses, the fence just gets whacked to pieces without any mortal blows being dealt.Perhaps we could put them all in a big room somewhere and not let them out until they've reached a unanimous (or unasinous) verdict.
Axes could be provided, if deemed necessary.

Grant Hutchison

hhEb09'1
2009-Mar-08, 03:08 PM
I'd contribute chain saws, and small nuclear devices, if available.

KaiYeves
2009-Mar-08, 08:29 PM
I think astronaut and cosmonaut are okay, but I do think we should say "crewed" missions rather than "manned".

Nick Theodorakis
2009-Mar-09, 02:03 AM
Odd. Folks who want to change the language really ought to get their act together on this one.
We had much flailing around a couple of decades ago in an effort to eliminate gender-specific nouns: so we had "chair" instead of "chairman/chairwoman"; "postal worker" instead of "postman"; the ill-fated "waitron" instead of "waiter/waitress" (now we have "server"); and all actors are now "actors" regardless of gender, I'm told (apparently anyone still described as an "actress" probably doesn't actually act ...)
I see no harm in gender-specific nouns, and no harm in gender-neutral nouns. But it would just be nice if the axe-grinders could sort out their thoughts on the matter.

Grant Hutchison

I agree here that there is nothing obviously gendered about "astronaut" and making gender-specific terms is step backward.

In regards to "waiter," I never understood why that came to be gendered, except that most waiters probably were probably male once upon a time. But we don't call female bartenders "bartendresses" so why not say that "waiter" is also a neutral term (apart from force of habit, I guess).

Nick

ravens_cry
2009-Mar-09, 02:38 AM
Why genderize it?
Cosmonaut means 'sailor of the cosmos' and astronaut means 'sailor of the stars' We don't call female sailors, sailorets, do we? Seriously, this would be a step back and a pointless separation. Men, woman, black, white, whatever. They are all explorers. How about we recognize it by not be making a big deal of it. That strikes me as a much more mature attitude. It's no more or less special then sending anyone into space.

Jens
2009-Mar-09, 03:18 AM
A colleague of mine remarked on Friday how exciting it would be if NASA began using the "appropriate" form of the terms for space explorers for those who're female, saying, "When space exploration began, only men were involved. Now that women are involved, we need to recognize that."


The idea that we should use "appropriate" Latin forms is, sorry to say, wrong. English is not Latin, it is English. We don't do declensions either, and don't conjugate verbs like Latin does.

Haibara
2009-Mar-09, 03:31 AM
The idea that we should use "appropriate" Latin forms is, sorry to say, wrong. English is not Latin, it is English. We don't do declensions either, and don't conjugate verbs like Latin does.

Hahahaha... you reminded me about the debate of the name for 'flute player'...

Some people argued flutist(English) should be change to flautist(Italian) because all the musical terms are in Italian...

And James Galway said..

"I am a flute player not a flautist. I don't have a flaut and I've never flauted."

:lol::lol::lol:

lol...so funny..^____________________________^

Celestial Mechanic
2009-Mar-09, 04:32 AM
How about "astronautrix", and "cosmonautrix", and "taikonautrix"?

(Ducks and runs for cover.)

novaderrik
2009-Mar-09, 04:47 AM
How about "astronautrix", and "cosmonautrix", and "taikonautrix"?

(Ducks and runs for cover.)
i think i saw that movie on Ciniemax one night...

Graybeard6
2009-Mar-09, 05:06 AM
I had a teacher (a nun) who taught us "Language has gender, people have sex."

ravens_cry
2009-Mar-09, 03:52 PM
How about "astronautrix", and "cosmonautrix", and "taikonautrix"?

(Ducks and runs for cover.)
Only if they finally come out with those skin-tight mechanical pressure spacesuits they keep promising. :whistle:
*ducks and runs for different cover.*

stutefish
2009-Mar-09, 08:50 PM
How about "astronautrix", and "cosmonautrix", and "taikonautrix"?

(Ducks and runs for cover.)
Silly Mechanic! Trix are for kids!

KaiYeves
2009-Mar-09, 10:29 PM
But isn't "trix" only the female form for nouns that end in "r"? Such as inventor/inventrix?

grant hutchison
2009-Mar-09, 10:40 PM
But isn't "trix" only the female form for nouns that end in "r"? Such as inventor/inventrix?Not necessarily. The usage moved beyond strict Latin, and then beyond Latin entirely, so we have the pairs advocate/advocatrix and autocrat/autocratrix, for instance.

Grant Hutchison

Nick Theodorakis
2009-Mar-09, 11:04 PM
But isn't "trix" only the female form for nouns that end in "r"? Such as inventor/inventrix?

This depends on how much weight you want to give to the language that English borrowed from. The suffix "-trix" comes from Latin and is the feminine version of "-tor;" thus, aviator/aviatrix (the latter I don't think has been used since Amelia Earhart). The "-ess" derives from the French "-esse" and is sometimes appended to words that don't have a clearly masculine ending, such as baron/baroness.

Sometimes we keep gendered terms from loan words such as masseur/masseuse but then we never call a woman in business an "entrepeneuse" but rather the (originally masculine) "entrepeneur."

My feeling is that for most words feminine endings are going away; how often do you hear "poetess" these days, although it was more common in the past.

Nick

nauthiz
2009-Mar-10, 12:36 AM
For starters, astronaut isn't from Latin. It comes from Greek roots:
ἄστρον: stars
ναύτης: sailor

But aside from that, I have another pressing question: Wouldn't feminizing the first part of the word produce something that means "sailor of the female stars" rather than "female sailor of the stars"?

Tucson_Tim
2009-Mar-10, 12:45 AM
Genderizing nouns that currently have no gender is a step backwards.

An aside: I love the way Timothy Ferris jumps back and forth in his books with the terms astronaut and cosmonaut. Now that other nations are joing in the mix, future writers will have to find other nouns. Best would be to settle on one term.

Jens
2009-Mar-10, 01:34 AM
An aside: I love the way Timothy Ferris jumps back and forth in his books with the terms astronaut and cosmonaut. Now that other nations are joing in the mix, future writers will have to find other nouns. Best would be to settle on one term.

It's kind of funny, though, because both of the terms have problems. I think astronaut means a person who travels to a star, or at least a planetary body. But most astronauts merely go into earth orbit. And cosmonaut means a person who travels to the universe, I think, and since we're already in the universe, we're all cosmonauts. Maybe an "upponaut"? :)

nauthiz
2009-Mar-10, 05:42 AM
Genderizing nouns that currently have no gender is a step backwards.

I think in this case, it's justifiable. The position of a spacefarer's gonads is a serious consideration. The more meat between them and the outside environment, the less their reproductive cells are subject to damage by radiation. This concern is more than important enough to justify enshrining it in an otherwise useless linguistic distinction.

Jens
2009-Mar-10, 06:49 AM
I think in this case, it's justifiable. The position of a spacefarer's gonads is a serious consideration. The more meat between them and the outside environment, the less their reproductive cells are subject to damage by radiation. This concern is more than important enough to justify enshrining it in an otherwise useless linguistic distinction.

You must be joking. Are you suggesting that changing the name to astronauta would somehow trick the radiation from attacking the male astronauts' reproductive organs? Or are you suggesting that NASA has trouble keeping track of the gender of its astronatae, and requires proper labels so that it can remember who is which?

ngc3314
2009-Mar-10, 01:47 PM
I think astronaut and cosmonaut are okay, but I do think we should say "crewed" missions rather than "manned".

I have the impression that NASA mostly has (officially) gone to "human space flight". The odder construction (to me at least) is what to do about its opposite. Robotic isn't exactly the opposite of human space flight, because there are a lot of missions which need way too much long-range support to be considered robotic - yet "unmanned" could apply to some space travellers from Valentina Tereshkova on. (Well, AFAIK, hers was the only human space flight so far to be literally unmanned, but anyway).

I once heard Riccardo Giacconi describe Hubble as "an incredibly stupid spacecraft". It's not exactly robotic, and the Pioneers sure weren't. DS1, on the other hand, maybe... (Or maybe this is too fine a distinction to attract even Gillianren's notice).

Disinfo Agent
2009-Mar-10, 02:54 PM
For starters, astronaut isn't from Latin. It comes from Greek roots:
ἄστρον: stars
ναύτης: sailorThe latter was borrowed into Latin as nauta.

The suffix '-aut' does not change with gender in the Romance languages. I'm not sure what happens in Russian.

I would have picked the last option, except that I prefer the spellings 'astronaut' and 'cosmonaut'. :p ;)

Buttercup
2009-Mar-10, 03:06 PM
I'm a woman and haven't thought of "cosmanaut" and "astranaut" before.

I'm fine with astronaut and cosmonaut.

Heck, I'd be thrilled to be smart and fit enough to join their ranks! Don't care about the gender-differentiation vowel.

nauthiz
2009-Mar-10, 03:08 PM
You must be joking.
ding ding ding ding ding!

Buttercup
2009-Mar-10, 03:10 PM
I think we should drop the term all together...it is so 1960's :)

All the more reason to keep it: Long live "The Swinging Sixties"! :D Never an era like it before or since. I love it!

Haibara
2009-Mar-10, 06:24 PM
Trivia:

The way ancient Chinese did it is to have both male and female terms in a single name,

For example, the Chinese noun for phoenix is "Fenghuang" where "Feng" alone means female phoenix and "Huang" alone means male phoenix. "Fenghuang" together is the generic noun for the 'thing'...

The mythical animal "Qilin"(Kirin), sort of the Chinese unicorn, is also like that. "Qi" is male qilin and "Lin" is female qilin.

Jens
2009-Mar-12, 02:31 AM
ding ding ding ding ding!

Sorry about that. You really should use smileys for those of us who are humorally impaired.