Carmel McCoubrey

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de julio de 2009. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

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.”

That was just the way French was, she said.…  Seguir leyendo »

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 »

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 »