#43 - Twain ist Humorist, er hat sich mit der Genderfrage aber schon gründlicher beschäftigt, und er wäre ja auch nicht der einzige, der der deutschen Sprache Frauendiskriminierung vorwirft. Natürlich ist das nicht ganz dasselbe wie bei der Heidi, aber ja doch wohl etwas Ähnliches, nämlich die Zuweisung des sächlichen Geschkechts an Frauen! Spaßeshalber hier noch eine zweite Kostprobe aus "A Tramp Abroad", dass Twain nach einer Deutschlandreise verfasst hat.
Well, after the student has learned the sex of a great number of nouns, he is still in a difficulty, because he finds it impossible to persuade his tongue to refer to things as “he” and “she,” and “him” and “her,” which it has been always accustomed to refer to it as “it.” When he even frames a German sentence in his mind, with the hims and hers in the right places, and then works up his courage to the utterance-point, it is no use— the moment he begins to speak his tongue files the track and all those labored males and females come out as “its.” And even when he is reading German to himself, he always calls those things “it,” where as he ought to read in this way: Tale of the Fishwife and Its Sad Fate.* It is a bleak Day. Hear the Rain, how he pours, and the Hail, how he rattles; and see the Snow, how he drifts along, and of the Mud, how deep he is! Ah the poor Fishwife, it is stuck fast in the Mire; it has dropped its Basket of Fishes; and its Hands have been cut by the Scales as it seized some of the falling Creatures; and one Scale has even got into its Eye, and it cannot get her out. It opens its Mouth to cry for Help; but if any Sound comes out of him, alas he is drowned by the raging of the Storm. And now a Tomcat has got one of the Fishes and she will surely escape with him. No, she bites off a Fin, she holds her in her Mouth,—will she swallow her? No, the Fishwife’s brave Mother-dog deserts his Puppies and rescues the Fin,—which he eats, himself, as his Re- ward. O, horror, the Lightning has struck the Fish-basket; he sets him on Fire; see the Flame, how she licks the doomed Utensil with her red and angry Tongue; now she attacks the helpless Fishwife’s Foot,—she burns him up, all but the big Toe, and even she is partly consumed; and still she spreads, still she waves her fiery Tongues; she attacks the Fishwife’s Leg and destroys it; she attacks his Hand.
and destroys her also; she attacks the Fishwife’s Leg and destroys her also; she attacks its Body and consumes him; she wreathes herself about its Heart and it is consumed; next about its Breast, and in a Momentshe is a Cinder; now she reaches its Neck,—he goes; now its Chin,—it goes; now its Nose,—she goes. In another Moment, except Help come, the Fishwife will be no more. Time presses—is there none to succor and save? Yes! Joy, joy, with fly- ing Feet the she-Englishwoman comes! But alas, the generous sheFemale is too late: where now is the fated Fishwife? It has ceased from its Sufferings, it has gone to a better Land; all that is left of it for its loved Ones to lament over, is this poor smoldering Ashheap. Ah, woeful, woeful Ash-heap! Let us take him up tenderly, reverently, upon the lowly Shovel, and bear him to his long Rest, with the Prayer that when he rises again it will be a Realm where he will have one good square responsible Sex, and have it all to himself, instead of having a mangy lot of assorted Sexes scattered all over him in Spots.
— There, now, the reader can see for himself that this pronoun business is a very awkward thing for the unaccustomed tongue. I suppose that in all languages the similarities of look and sound between words which have no similarity in meaning are a fruitful source of perplexity to the foreigner. It is so in our tongue, and it is notably the case in the German.