他 – Ta1 – He, Him, She, Her
Chinese makes no gender distinction with the third person pronoun. Everybody is 他. It seems that the fact that English does have He and She causes trouble for Chinese people trying to learn English, and trouble for native English speakers trying to understand them. I guess because of the structure of English there’s some special register in my brain that keeps track of the gender of all the subjects of the current conversation. When there’s a mismatch, like “I was talking to my sister today, and ….. Then he said…”, some sort of exception is raised, and a flag gets set that says my subject table is corrupted. It’s kind of like a parity mismatch: the pointers to the subjects are possibly all wrong. It takes a few neuro-cycles for the error to be caught and passed up to the higher brain functions, which eventually decide that this error is safe to ignore. But by then the parsing, which was halted, is a bit behind, and the lexer’s buffer may have overrun.
Thus ends today’s lesson in dorko-linguistics.
Also, 吉他 – Ji2 Ta1 – Guitar, but you knew that already.