In response to the inamorato email which states (in regard to feminine/masculine forms); “The use of suffixes like -ette and -ess to distinguish females from males is now harshly frowned upon.”
I can’t help but chuckle, sometimes, at the supposed “good intentions” of our almost obsessively politically correct society. Such morphemes are very useful, and, I suspect, exist for this very reason, [that] they convey meaning much more efficiently.
I’ve noticed this over the last several years in relation to the term actor. The unacceptability of this morpheme now necessitates the use of the term “female actor(s)” if one needs to make such a reference.
Consider the information conveyed in the word bartendress—not in the dictionary, to my knowledge, but useful nonetheless. I shudder to think what would happen if such a fad took hold of a language like Nahuatl, in which there seem to be [a plethora of] morphemes that can be used to construct single words that are pregnant with meaning!
This American sport even takes the liberty of imposing itself on terms from other languages. I’m sure you’re aware of the fact that a mixed group in the Romance languages, when referred to in the third person, will use the plural masculine pronoun unless it is composed of females.
Taíno, in reference to the Taíno Indians of the Carribean, is a word that has been Hispanicized (for obvious reasons), yielding Taínos for a (mixed) group and Taínas for a group of females.
In The Cave of the Jagua, an anthropological study about the Taíno Indians, the text constantly refers to “the Taínos and Taínas” just as readily as one would refer to “the English” or “the Germans”. Unfortunately, the Spanish language has made an insensitive and chauvinist distinction that now necessitates undoing.