Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lost in Translation: "His" and "Her" Have No Italian or French Equivalents in English

Of course, one can fill in an English word wherever one finds 'sa' or 'son' or 'suo' or 'sua,' and vice-versa.

But 'his' means 'something possessed by a third-person of masculine gender,' and 'her' means 'something possessed by a third-person of feminine gender.

French and Italian do not contain such words. Instead, they have words meaning 'something of feminine gender possessed by a third person' ('sua,' 'sa') and 'something of masculine gender possessed by a third person ('suo,' 'son').

It takes a mental shift for an English speaker to be able to comfortably use the French and Italian possessive pronouns, very similar to what it takes to comfortably drive on the other side of the road in the U. K.

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