Top, Anya Gallaccio, Rhymes of Goodbye, 2011, Rock, broken car wind screen, 100 x 70 x 47 cm. Via. More. Her solo exhibition at Annet Gelink Gallery in Amsterdam is on view until October 22nd. Bottom, Hiro Kurata, Sunday Date, 2009, Acrylic on canvas, 18 x 18 inches. Via. More.
In the German it is true that by some oversight of the inventor of the language, a Woman is a female; but a Wife (Weib) is not — which is unfortunate. A Wife, here, has no sex; she is neuter; so, according to the grammar, a fish is he, his scales are she, but a fishwife is neither. To describe a wife as sexless may be called under-description; that is bad enough, but over-description is surely worse. A German speaks of an Englishman as the Engländer; to change the sex, he adds inn, and that stands for Englishwoman — Engländerinn. That seems descriptive enough, but still it is not exact enough for a German; so he precedes the word with that article which indicates that the creature to follow is feminine, and writes it down thus: “die Engländerinn,” — which means “the she-Englishwoman.” I consider that that person is over-described.
Mark Twain, The Awful German Language, 1880, Appendix D from A Tramp Abroad, Read it in its entirety. [Note that the German orthography is that of the late 19th century.]
See also, The Divine Comedy, Something For The Weekend, 1996. [Note that Something for the Weekend was originally a euphemistic reference to a condom.]