I have been reading meta, and there is quite an uproar about the gender neutrality of the new CoC. Without going into merits of this discussion, got me wondering. Gendered pronouns arent really neccesery, Finnish language seems to cope quite well without. What othe languages lack gramatical gender? Is it common?

Are there languages that go beyond this and just skip the need to identify a personhood at all and treat all as things? I know that some coloquial Finnish is sort of developping this way, but is far from there yet. Sort of future proof feature in case we ever meet aliens from another planet.


Indo-European, Afro-Asiatic and Khoisan languages tend to have grammatical distinctions between masculine and feminine, where there are pronouns translating "he" vs. "she", and possibly "it" (if there is a neuter gender). Benue-Congo languages have myriad class distinctions where certain classes refer to humans, trees, ropes etc (though in any given language the assignment is synchronically arbitrary). Nilotic languages don't distinguish animate / inanimate, male / female, or arbitrary noun class. This article gives a reasonable survey of some of the basic systems found, and this article classifies and maps languages in terms of numbers of genders found. In that survey, more languages totally lack gender that have some kind of gender system, combined.


The Chinese language has no gender, plural, etc. of things that most Indo-European languages have. The Finnish language does too. (I heard about both of those from YouTube's Langfocus.)

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.