We had an interesting discussion in editing class this morning regarding the use of "who" and "which" when referring to animals. Many people believe that language shapes culture; especially when a language labels nouns as being male or female. The same can be said for choice of pronouns.
If we say, "the four kittens, which had always lived together, went to different homes," the kittens are seen as objects. The argument is that if we treat them as objects in language, our culture will reflect that treatment. Giving animals a personal pronoun will give them more rights and respect in the real world. So, if we say, "the four kittens, who had always lived together, went to different homes," they are treated more like people, and this will be reflected in our culture with a more humane treatment of animals.
What do you think? Does language shape culture?
2 days ago