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TELEPHONE GENDER WOES?


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
11 Oct 2009 /  #1
HAS ANYONE EVER RUNG UP SOME INSTITUION, COMPANY, ETC. AND NOT BEEN ABLE TO TELL BY THE VOICE WHETHER THE INTERLOCUTOR WAS A MAN OR WOMAN? THERE IS A BORDERLINE AREA BETWEEN A HIGH-PITCHED MALE VOICE AND LOW-PITCHED FEMALE ONE WHERE IT IS DIFFICULT TO TELL. USING THE POLISH PAN/PANI FORM OF YOU, WHAT DO YOU DO?

HOW DO YOU SAY: COULD YOU TELL ME WHEN HE MIGHT BE IN? or even: IS THAT YOUR CAR BLOCKING MY DRIVEWAY? (pański or pani samochód?)

Why the upper case letters?
mafketis 21 | 7,390  
11 Oct 2009 /  #2
Hasn't happened to me in Poland, but if it did I (a non-native speaker) might say something like:

Czy wiadomo kiedy wróci?

Chciałbym wiedzieć czyj samochód mnie blokuje.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
11 Oct 2009 /  #3
Indeed, some questions can be rendered neutral and impersonal, but not all:
Could I ask for YOUR cellphone number?
Where does YOUR brother work? Do YOU personally know anyone in the the accounting dept? Could I leave the parcel for Mr Kwiatkowski with YOU?
mafketis 21 | 7,390  
11 Oct 2009 /  #4
Mogę poprosić o numer komórki? or just A komórka? or Jest komórka?

Gdzie pracuje brat?

Mogę zostawić paczkę tam?

possessives are often dropped in everyday usage.

IMO it's absurd to think you'd ask the other question of someone whose gender you don't know (same with the one about the brother).

What's trickier is deciding whether to use ty or Pan/Pani and my younger Polish colleagues say they're often unsure (and go with impersonal camoflage forms)
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
13 Oct 2009 /  #5
Caps lock + laziness. When I got nearr the end and looked up and found only caps, I was too lazy to re-type the whole thing the normal way. Sorry about that. This was not intentional.
cinek 2 | 337  
14 Oct 2009 /  #6
Use neutral language until the interlocutor says anything that reveals their gender (e.g wait for phrases like byłem/byłam etc.). I know that it may be difficult for a person not very fluent in the language.

But, politeness require introducing myself when starting a conversation, so you should expect the other side to introduce themselves (so you'll know the gender), or you can always ask "przepraszam, z kim rozmawiam?" (after you introduced yourself of course :-) )

Cinek
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
15 Oct 2009 /  #7
How can one neutrally say:
Czy może Pan/Pani mi powiedzieć...
Czy Pana/Pani aparat ma tarczę czy klawisze?
Kto w Pańskiej/Pani (Waszej might be an option here?!) firmie zajmuje się tym lub tamtym?
Nomsense - | 38  
15 Oct 2009 /  #8
Czy może Pan/Pani mi powiedzieć...

Chciałbym wiedzieć, czy... / Potrzebuję informacji na temat... / Chciałbym zapytać o... / Czy mógłbym uzyskać informacje na temat...

Czy Pana/Pani aparat ma tarczę czy klawisze?

Czy Państwa aparat...

Kto w Pańskiej/Pani (Waszej might be an option here?!) firmie zajmuje się tym lub tamtym?

Kto w Państwa firmie... / Kto w firmie...
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
18 Oct 2009 /  #9
OK. How about this one: Czy pan/pani osobiście zna pana £apszczyńskiego?
Nomsense - | 38  
18 Oct 2009 /  #10
Is it some kind of a test?
mafketis 21 | 7,390  
19 Oct 2009 /  #11
Muszę rozmawiać z kimś kto osobiście zna pana £apszczyńskiego....

I do have to say, that the odds of getting that far in the conversation without figuring it out seem pretty minimal.
Also people with voices that can be mistaken are almost always used to it and will inform you themselves to save confusion.

Coming up with more and more arcane and less and less likely questions doesn't seem very productive.

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