Blogs neutered

Jochen Wegner reports on the debate in German on whether “Blog” the noun is masculine (der Blog) or neuter (das Blog). Why not feminine (die Blog)? Call in the forces of Blogher!

: Speaking of, if not in, German: I wish I could be there tomorrow for JoNet Day and wish I could have been there a few weeks ago for Munich Media Days. Both look more lively than our U.S. journalism confabs.

: See also Wegner’s 10 characteristics of journalism 2.0. I’ll translate later. Wegner is the founder of JoNet.

: LATER: Wortfeld is liveblogging JoNetTag.

  • Don’t forget, it’s Muchen, not Munich, versteht?

  • What’s the point of having gendered nouns at all? Does it ever add any pertinent information to the word? If the blog is male/female/neutral does it change anything?

    That’s a question, not a complaint.

  • No need to translate, Google (among others) can instantly translate the whole thing. Did a pretty good job, too, only leaving a few words untranslated.

  • Foreign loan words tend to enter languages with gendered nouns as neuter, so my vote would be for “das”.

    As for the usefulness of gender in nouns, it does allow for an extra level of detail (as does case) which can allow German and other languages with gendered nouns an economy of expression that English cannot duplicate without inviting ambiguity.

    Take the demonstrative pronouns: in English we have “this” and “that,” “these” and “those”. When we say “this” without supplying a noun we have to assume that the relationship is obvious, or provide an actual physical referent by pointing at the item in question.

    In German however you have three distinct gender forms for each of the above (plus four different cases = 48 forms to the English 4). It’s a pain for an outsider to learn, true, but it permits the native speaker a layer of nuance that our own stripped-down version of the Germanic language has lost.

    Of course English has its strengths as well — its ability to absorb new words from other languages is nothing short of phenomenal compared to its Indo-European cousins. But with a streamlined grammar, we lack the ability to do things like play with word order (something more easily done by inflected or gendered languages) without sounding like Yoda at best or losing meaning entirely in the worst case.

  • People tend to draw up Google numbers on this trying to justify “der” is as valid or even more valid – totally neglecting the fact, that probably half of those links are about “Es heißt das Blog nicht der!”.

    In German, whatever way you put it from Logfile as Logbuch or just Log it is always das.

    I suspect the french influence (where it is le blog) and the wrong sense of translating it into German with ‘der’ like for example with blogger.

    Every time somebody says “der Blog” or “einen Blog aufsetzen”, God kills a kitten. At least.

  • Foreign loan words tend to enter languages with gendered nouns as neuter, so my vote would be for “das”.

    That is, if said language has a neuter form of gendered words. French doesn’t. Neither do Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

    In French, it’s “un blogue”, masculine.