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Gender
Posted: 02 March 2007 05:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Besides, in the phrase blond hair , blond is modifying hair, not the person whose hair it is.  Back when such things mattered hair was neuter.  Is that blond or blonde?

Blond (or for that matter blonde) hair” is fair enough. But does the phrase ”blond(e)-haired” grate on everybody else as much as it does on me? It’s pure tautology.
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Posted: 02 March 2007 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Do you also object blue eyed, light skinned, long clawed, ...

[ Edited: 02 March 2007 06:55 AM by Myridon ]
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Posted: 02 March 2007 07:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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MWDEU says either “blond” or “blonde” can be used as an adjective for non-human objects: e.g., wood, beer. Nouns in English essentially don’t have grammatical gender, AFAIK, so one does not need to imagine a gender for “wood” or “beer” (or “hair"), IMHO.

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Posted: 02 March 2007 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Not all systems of grammatical gender (sometimes called noun classes) are based on biological sex. Some, as in Bantu languages, are based on other categories. A common gender system is one divided into animate and inanimate. It is thought that Proto-Indo-European had such a system before the three-way masculine-feminine-neuter one developed.

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Posted: 02 March 2007 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Speaking of blond/blonde I’m minded of naif/naive. I thought these were differentiated by gender in English but apparently there were no real grounds for this. OED says, “Some uses may reflect an attempt to apply naive to feminine subjects and naïf to masculine, in imitation of the French use.”

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Posted: 02 March 2007 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Do you also object blue eyed, light skinned, long clawed..

Of course not. The adjective in these cases is capable of qualifying other parts of the body, non-physical characteristics or even the person as a whole (e.g. blue-chinned, light-minded, long-winded, a light woman), and so both words are necessary to convey the meaning, unlike blond-haired which conveys no nuance of meaning that isn’t already contained in blond.
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Posted: 02 March 2007 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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But does the phrase ”blond(e)-haired” grate on everybody else as much as it does on me?

No.  I’m a very tolerant soul.

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Posted: 02 March 2007 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Me neither, and I’m quite an intolerant soul.

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Posted: 02 March 2007 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Housewife (to delivery boy who has brought a whole load of stuff from the supermarket): “I’m terribly sorry, I don’t seem to have any cash in the house to pay you....could i interest you in some entertainment instead?”

Delivery boy (half an hour later):  “Funny --- I could have sworn that blonde hair of yours was real”.

Lady: “Oh, but it is!”

D.B. “Then how come that hair’s black?”

Lady”: “Oh! well, you see, I had to pay the coal man”.

(Note: this is an ancient story which dates me, I’m afraid. I don’t know if coal is still delivered to homes in Britain, the way it used to be. probably not)

(Edited for typo)

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