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Questions tagged [gender]

A system of classes of nouns which trigger specific types of inflections in associated words.

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Do "he" and "she" signify sex or gender? Hunt for existing work [closed]

I'm hunting for existing work on the question of whether "he" and "she" signify sex or gender. This seems to be a big deal in the public sphere, but I can't find any academic work ...
Remster's user avatar
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16 Genders of the Kivunjo Language?

Some of the Bantu languages have many grammatical genders. One of these, Kivunjo, is said to have 16. Would anyone let me know all of the 16 genders? Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct quotes ...
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What do Influences the Gender Assignment of Words: History, Culture, or Originators?

In Portuguese, the word for "circle" is "círculo," which is masculine. However, in French, the term "cercle" (meaning "circle") is feminine. Similarly, in ...
Humberto José Bortolossi's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
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What's the gender of "nice" in "Mary is a nice person"?

I just read this rule in Greek Essential Grammar: This passage says that, in the Greek sentence for "Mary is a nice person", the adjective nice is masculine because it must agree with the ...
chocojunkie's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
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Why do I intuitively seem to know the gender of inanimate objects?

Note to the Responder: This curiosity behind this question arose because of my (relative) proficiency in the Hindi language, but the answers need not be necessarily limited to it. I am a complete noob ...
VVidyan's user avatar
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Why in the world are French "Paul" and "Paule" distinguished by vowel openness?

Wikipedia lists Paul [pɔl] ('Paul', masculine), vs. Paule [pol] ('Paule', feminine), as a minimal pair of the two mid rounded back vowels of French. What I wonder is, how did it happen that the two ...
trerri's user avatar
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Is there a term for mixed gender in plural pronouns (as opposed to masculine, feminine, or neuter)?

In English, there is only one third person plural pronoun to refer to groups of any gender or genders. Multiple "he"s becomes they, multiple "she"s becomes they, multiple "it&...
ThornShadow's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
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How did the generic masculine emerge?

In an essay for school I recently claimed the generic masculine was caused by sexism, but my teacher complained that I hadn't given a reason for this. Assuming my hypothesis is correct, how did this ...
zvavybir's user avatar
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7 answers
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How do native speakers control gender distinction?

I get the concept of (Western) grammatical gender and why it is used in the languages I know. However, I do not understand how native speakers casually avoid mistakes in grammatical gender. For ...
SunnyMoon's user avatar
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Common origin of PIE feminine and collective plural and semantic implications

It is generally believed that the neuter nominative-accusative plural and feminine singular in PIE both originate in a common *-h2 suffix which originally marked collective, although recent works tend ...
Erithacus Rubecula's user avatar
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2 answers
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If the definiteness of a noun is dependent on the article that introduces it, can the gender of that noun also depend on that article?

If a chair can become the chair, can a noun's gender change depend on the article that introduces it? My understanding is that the classifier concentrates on the similar characteristics of the noun ...
Mòòb Lajleeb's user avatar
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How to do Practice Problem for Basque

Link to Problem(both Problems and Answers[but no explanations]) https://sites.google.com/site/paninilinguisticsolympiad/Resources/sample-problems-and-solutions My question is about the problem titled &...
MeltedStatementRecognizing's user avatar
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Is there a term to describe female names derived from a male name?

As an example there is the name Alexandra, a female name derived from the Greek male name Alexandros. Is there a term used to describe this process? As there are terms to describe to process of ...
Kohjah Breese's user avatar
18 votes
4 answers
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Why do we use the names we do for grammatical genders?

Imagine if every French speaker suddenly agreed that nouns were one of 'animate' and 'inanimate', or 'chocolate' and 'strawberry', or 'A' and 'B' instead of 'masculine' and 'feminine'. The language ...
AML's user avatar
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Why do women's forms of address and honorifics vary more than men's forms of address and honorifics?

What I mean is in English, the form of address used for men we are not familiar with is "sir", whatever their age (technically, "master" is sometimes used for males under 25 years ...
mammifereviolet4694's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
618 views

Does English have animate/inanimate distinction?

I know we have the "'S" genitive and the "X of Y" but I don't exactly understand the rules of using these even as a native English speaker and I'm unsure if English makes other ...
Franglishman24's user avatar
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Do English words have a sort of de-facto inherrent gender (or gender stereotype) to them?

I apologize in advance if this question goes all over the place, I was just randomly thinking today about gender in the English language. One thing in English that I find is overlooked is gender in ...
Franglishman24's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
351 views

Western European languages tend to have fewer genders and simpler case systems than Eastern European ones, is this due to contact?

You can draw a relatively consistent line through Europe, to the west of which, Indo-European languages mostly have one or two genders and nouns don't inflect for case, and to the east of which, ...
asinoladro's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
145 views

Software internationalisation - displaying gendered adjectives

I'm currently working on an internationalisation project for a large web application - initially we're just implementing French but more languages will follow in time. One of the issues we've come ...
Mark Williams's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
353 views

What is the function of a gender distinction in nouns?

In German and some other languages, I understand there are different forms of the definite article 'the' depending on the gender of the noun. Also personal pronouns have different forms depending on ...
Babu's user avatar
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How did Old Norse influence Old English to lose genders and cases?

Wikipedia says that "Norse influence is ... considered to have stimulated and accelerated the morphological simplification found in Middle English, such as the loss of grammatical gender and ...
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7 votes
1 answer
255 views

Does the Bengali language have grammatical gender that's only optionally reflected in adjectives, or no grammatical gender at all?

I thought Bengali didn't have gender but did a quick Google search to check. I found pages saying that it does have gender and pages saying that it doesn't. I'm not just talking about chat pages with ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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Why there is a neuter gender in some Indo-European languages, and others apparently dropped it?

Since this one was shown as "hot network question", this question is a follow-up which I do not identify (yet) as answered e.g., here, raised as an observer (chemist). As stated by the title,...
Buttonwood's user avatar
20 votes
3 answers
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Since when did Indo-European languages start associating noun genders with male/female sexes?

Since what point in time did noun classes in Indo-European languages become associated with the sexes? I read that greek/latin used words that translate to "kind" to describe the noun ...
minseong's user avatar
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How did the romance languages' feminine/masculine genders develop?

How did French, Spanish, Italian, end up with gendered nouns? The Wikipedia page Proto-Indo-European nominals says Originally, there probably were only an animate (masculine/feminine) and an ...
minseong's user avatar
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29 votes
2 answers
4k views

Is there a technical name for when languages use masculine pronouns to refer to both men and women?

I know a little Arabic, and I also know English. They both have the notion of "gender" built into their syntax. I am Persian and I speak Farsi, which does not have "gender" built ...
Saeed Neamati's user avatar
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0 answers
137 views

Why didn't speakers "default to real-world gender when making reference to animate objects"?

McWhorter contends that English and Afrikaans are "easier" to learn because they lost gender, a "difficult" feature. Given "the tendency for speakers to default to real-world ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
402 views

Implying Gender In Finnish

I'm not sure if this is the place to ask this as this is more of a "curious" question instead of a research specific question, if that makes sense(which I guess all research starts from ...
Eliza Ann's user avatar
22 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why do some Indo-European languages have genders and some don't?

In some languages, like German and French, every noun has a gender and each gender has its article. Whereas languages like English and Persian do not have genders. Why is that? Even though these ...
AziZ's user avatar
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30 votes
10 answers
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Is there a language where there are personal pronouns for the first or second person that have gender?

Is there a language where there are personal pronouns for the first or second person that have gender? Like a feminine "I" or a masculine "you".
Pablo's user avatar
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Why does French use diminutive suffixes differently from other Romance languages?

I'm a native French speaker, and I noticed that for a lot of masculine objects, we use the suffix -ette to designate a smaller version of it, which turns it into a feminine word. Here are a few ...
Reyedy's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
438 views

Are there any languages with gender neutral pronouns for unknown gender?

There are proposals to introduce in several languages gender-neutral pronouns to refer to groups of mixed gender or single individuals of unknown gender. Are there examples of existing languages that ...
Udik's user avatar
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Is there a generic English term for the relation actor:actress?

I am looking for a generic term describing the relation actor:actress or Paul:Paula, like actress is a ____ of actor. In German, there is the term Movierung for this, and it works in both directions (...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
-4 votes
2 answers
154 views

Why is research on grammatical gender important?

I was wondering why is research on grammatical gender important? Why is exploring this area of linguistics of any interest to linguists? What can it tell us about language (especially with regards to ...
JavaApprentice's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
308 views

Do any languages/cultures other than English apply non-grammatical gender to ships?

In the English language (or maybe in English-speaking cultures?) it's common to use feminine pronouns to refer to ships (and occasionally to other types of vehicles). Are there any other languages/...
Oblivious Sage's user avatar
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0 answers
220 views

Genderless referral to a person as existent in Thai language

While learning Thai I came across something I never knew from other languages: The titles Khun (คุณ) and Than (ท่าน) while Than is said in down tone ('): Thai people would most often refer ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
466 views

How did these feminine mutations originate in Welsh?

It is known that the celtic languages have mutations, for instance: Welsh: *transcription depicts North Welsh dialects • normal form: Cymru [ˈkəmrɨ̞] (Wales); • soft mutation: Gymru [ˈɡəmrɨ̞] (ex.: ...
Ergative Man's user avatar
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in search of nouns with a mismatch between morphological and semantic gender [duplicate]

I am currently trying to identify nouns whose morphological gender differs from their semantic gender. Here are three examples I could identify so far: French: Le laideron - masculine morpho-...
user3201's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
540 views

Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and Gender Identity: Empirical Studies?

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis states, briefly put, that linguistic structures affect cognitive processes. I am interested in finding out how much is known about the development of gender identity from ...
Qwertuy's user avatar
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4 votes
7 answers
945 views

Languages with masculine nouns for various female entities, or feminine nouns for male entities

This is not an area I'm familiar with, so if any of the following description/discussion is misguided, I apologise in advance: In languages with gendered nouns, the nouns for woman and man are ...
Araucaria - him's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
973 views

Are there languages that inflect adverbs for gender

Triggered by this answer, I am curious: Are there languages that inflect adverbs for gender or noun class? I have consulted the following two questions but the given inflections of adverbs in their ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why has the neuter gender disappeared from almost all the modern Romance languages?

Why has the neuter gender disappeared from almost all the modern Romance languages? It was completely common in Latin. And when exactly did this happen? Did it happen in Latin itself, or only after ...
Honza Zidek's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
85 views

Can the need for ambiguity lead to merge of grammatical person, or other semantic merge?

My mother tongue doesn't distinguish 3.SG.F and 3.SG.M in speech. In some cases I feel the redundancy of it and the need for ambiguity of the grammatical person when I speak a language which ...
wodemingzi's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
207 views

Correlation between pronunciation of given names and gender

In a number of major Western European languages, there are some fairly straighforward correlations between the pronunciation of given names and the biological gender these names are assigned to. E.g. ...
Jan's user avatar
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17 votes
5 answers
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In romance languages, are there examples of male names that derive from female names?

In french, there are many female given names that are derived from male given names. Those names are often obtained by adding "ine", "ette", "e" or "a" at the end of the male name. Examples include ...
Remi.b's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
177 views

Is Italian the only modern language that uses the feminine 3rd person singular pronoun for formal speech?

Is Italian the only modern language that uses the feminine 3rd person singular pronoun (Lei) for formal speech, regardless of the gender of the 2nd person singular addressee? cf. T–V_distinction#...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 382
-1 votes
2 answers
504 views

Common gender in Swedish and gender equality

I study Swedish and I have a question. I know ancient grammatical masculine and femenine gender fused into one ("common gender") at some point in time, but I was wondering... They say that the ...
Donato Califri Burga's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
756 views

Are there any natural languages that actually have gender neutral 3rd person pronouns? [duplicate]

You see this a lot in the auxlang movement that having gendered pronouns is sexist. But making conlangs of my own, I find its absence to be often annoying. No one seems to realize how useful it is to ...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
106 views

Feminine and neuter plural

The Indo-European feminine declension looks like the neuter plural. The usual explanation seems to be that feminine evolved out of an earlier inanimate collective but the semantics doesn't seem to be ...
cyco130's user avatar
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5 votes
4 answers
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Why did English "man" and Latin "homo" take both the senses "gender-neutral human" and "male adult"?

Why did English "man" and Latin "homo" take both the sense "gender-neutral human" and "male adult"? According to etymonline.com, English "man", and incidentally Latin "homo" (which originally meant "...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar