Carmel McCoubrey

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de agosto de 2007. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

More than 300 teachers in France said they would no longer teach the rule that “the masculine prevails over the feminine” when it came to plural nouns. Credit Martin Bureau/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

I still remember my sense of indignation when my high school French teacher told us about the rule: French nouns have a gender, even seemingly sexless ones like “table.” And if you had a mixed group of masculine and female nouns — say, a bunch of male students (étudiants) and female students (étudiantes) — you had to describe them, as a group, in the masculine.

“What if there are 99 female students and one male student?” I demanded.

It didn’t matter, the teacher said. What’s more, if you wrote a sentence about attractive (beaux) étudiants and attractive (belles) étudiantes, the adjective used to describe them had to be masculine, too: “Les étudiants et les étudiantes sont beaux.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Más de trescientos maestros en Francia dijeron que no volverán a enseñar la regla de que “el masculino prevalece sobre el femenino” cuando se trata de sustantivos en plural. Credit Martin Bureau/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Aún recuerdo mi indignación en la preparatoria cuando mi maestra de francés nos enseñó esta regla: los sustantivos en francés tienen un género, incluso aquellos que parecen asexuales como “mesa”. Y si tienes un grupo mixto de sustantivos masculinos y femeninos —por ejemplo: un grupo de varones estudiantes (étudiants) y de mujeres estudiantes (étudiantes)— tienes que referirte a ellos como un grupo en masculino.

“¿Qué pasa si hay 99 mujeres estudiantes y un estudiante varón?”, pregunté.

No importa, dijo mi maestra. Es más, si escribes una oración sobre la belleza de los estudiantes varones (beaux) y mujeres (belles), el adjetivo para describirlos debía ser masculino también: Les étudiants et les étudiantes sont beaux.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mourners outside the hospital in Paris where Diana, Princess of Wales, was taken after her fatal car accident. Peter Turnley / Corbis, via Getty Images

When she was alive, Diana, Princess of Wales, never held much interest for me. I didn’t watch her wedding or pay attention to what she wore to parties and ribbon-cutting ceremonies or care that she was unhappy in her marriage to Prince Charles.

When I worked at The Times in the early 1990s, we wrote about the scandals swirling around her gingerly, almost with distaste. Forced to pay attention to what seemed little more than celebrity gossip, we dressed up our accounts of what the British tabloids were reporting by expounding on the questions they raised about the role of the news media or the future of the monarchy.…  Seguir leyendo »