Date: Thu, 11 Aug 1994 08:13:32 -0700


Subject: Re: your male type cats

I remember being taught (in Oregon 1950-60s) that cats were refered to

as "she" if their gender was uncertain. Ships and a few other things were

invariably "she", as was almost any vehicle in the stock phrase "She's a

real beauty".

Allen Maberry

University of Washington Libraries

On Thu, 11 Aug 1994, Tim Behrend wrote:

On Wednesday, 10 August, Tim Frazer (mftcf[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UXA.ECN.BGU.EDU) wrote:

I have always thought the male/female thing on dogs and cats

was pretty universal, not regional. Aren't cats always "she" in

nursery rhymes?

Not always so for nursery rhymes and folktales. Remember

Puss'n'Boots? In our own day, the presence of tomcats like Felix the

Cat, Fritz, Tom (and Jerry), Topcat, Garfield and other cartoon

characters pretty strongly affirms feline masculinity. So do such

expressions as catting around (but not catty), and terms like cat

(beat culture), fat cat, cat house, cat burglar, cat-o'-nine-tails.

Ideolectically, for me all domestic animals are pretty much "it"s,

with no sense of discomfort or apology to anthropomorphist owners.

On the the it-ification of babies, though, while I do find myself

using it, I always feel dissonance and have a sense that its a bit


Back to "whut"--Don Lance said I'mn asking a complicated

question, but I can't resist this simple survey: How many of

you out there, just off the top of your head, would regard the

"whut" spelling a s eye dialect?

I'm curious what the exact meaning of "eye dialect" is. Any

definitions handy for a non-dialectologist?

Tim Behrend

Asian Languages, University of Auckland