A French teacher was explaining to her class that in French, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine. House is feminine “la maison”. Pencil is masculine “le crayon”.
A student asked, “What gender is a computer?” Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups -boys and girls- and asked them to decide for themselves whether “computer” should be a masculine or a feminine noun.
Each group was asked to give four reasons for their recommendation. The Boys’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 Girl’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.