Another topic

Robyn Starkey rohina at
Wed Dec 3 19:44:26 EST 2003

>I've mostly seen it in contemporaries of Nesbit (and earlier) but only in a
>general sense--I can't cite many examples.  What I've seen most often is
>referring to an infant as "it," not so much older children.  I don't know
>why that is.

It goes back to medieval conceptions of gender (as a part of a person's 
identity, not the physiology) as something that only develops as children 
move into adulthood. Shakespeare refers to children as "it" most of the 
time, too. I think when the usage rolled back to infants it was following 
an idea that infants don't really have gender in terms of social identity.

>who calls all her kids "you there"
>on the assumption that they know who they are

And they do, too.

-------------- next part --------------

Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (
Version: 6.0.547 / Virus Database: 340 - Release Date: 02/12/2003

More information about the Dwj mailing list