Grammatical gender in tech

One thing that I find quite fascinating when I read technical discussions is when there are people involved in the discussion that have a Slavic language as their mother tongue.

In that context it’s not unusual to label something as “he”.

See for example this comment on Server Fault. The poster is from Prague, in the Czech Republic. I’m not 100% sure, but I believe that “he” in this case refers to the MariaDB root user account.

Very interesting to see a gendered noun used in this context! I wouldn’t say it’s wrong, just very unusual from a modern Anglo-Saxon point of view.

My native tongue is Swedish and we’ve had a system like this as well. It’s not entirely dead, but it’s quite seldom used these days.

Hence I find it curious to see this use of gender living on still, in some corners of contemporary literature.

Update 2022-10-24: Just encoundered another example on Stack Exchange, written by someone from the Dominican Republic:

dd picks up something (boxes, vases, beds, rice, etc.), move where it needs to be and drops it off. Until he doesn’t drop the load of objects of the box, he doesn’t pick anything else, it means: other box with another load of objects.

Now, when you need to tell him exactly how many objects to load into the box per travel, this is what bs do.

Author: Carl Winbäck
Published: 2021-12-22
Last modified: 2022-10-14

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