Turnips, Germans and Sex…..

 

In many western European languages, the turnip, like many other ostensibly sexless objects, possesses gender — masculine in French (navet), masculine in Spanish (nabo), feminine in German (Ruhe).

This linguistic curiosity once led the touring Mark Twain to remark

 “In German, a young lady has no sex, while a turnip has. Think what overwrought reverence that shows for the turnip, and what callous disrespect for the girl.”

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