Friday, September 09, 2022

Making a man queen – "Can a man be Chancellor?"

One of the most frequently shared tweets about the death of Queen Elizabeth II (at least that I have seen) is from Nat Guest: "Can't believe they are going to make a MAN queen. This woke nonsense has gone too far." This reminded me of a story often told in Germany as Angela Merkel's chancellorship kept getting longer: parents of children who had never known any other chancellor reported their children asking some form of this question: "Kann ein Mann Bundeskanzlerin werden?" ("Can a man be Chancellor?). While "queen" in Guest's tweet has a feminine denotation, "Bundeskanzlerin" in the children's striking question is marked as feminine by the grammatical ending "-in". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 9 September 2022)

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