Questions tagged [gender]

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

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Do some Slavic languages have an "extra" gender distinction for animate nouns?

I seem to recall hearing and reading that certain Slavic languages including Czech treat animate nouns as something like an extra gender. Even Wikipedia in some places counts more than three genders ...
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15 votes
2 answers
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How stable are grammatical genders?

In languages which have gender-like classifications for nouns, like French and Russian, how often do nouns change gender over time? Have any studies been done to get statistics on how many words have ...
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Do any Indo European languages reflect noun class types other than gender?

In the comments of another question about animate as noun gender in some Slavic languages an interesting point was raised. Many if not most Indo European languages exhibit grammatical gender for ...
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Is there a language without gender in third person pronouns?

English (as most Indo-European languages) has a gender-neutral third person pronoun, it, but it is typically not used for people; if one wants to be gender neutral, one is often stuck using he or she. ...
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Gender-based name endings: Are they common?

For instance, if an English name ends in -a, it's likely female. But English has no grammatical gender, and there is no general requirement that nouns in -a refer to women. It seems like in English ...
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6 answers
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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 ...
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23 votes
9 answers
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What is the origin of non-natural grammatical genders in Indo-European languages?

Non-natural grammatical genders in Indo-European languages: What is their origin (assuming that there is a single origin, if there are many origins)? Or what are the origins? How and for what ...
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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 ...
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2 answers
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Gender of mixed groups defaulting to masculine – how common?

French has that rule that whenever a masculine entity is part of a group, the whole NP will default to masculine as far as agreement goes. My native language, German, also defaults gender to masculine,...
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7 votes
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Why do many French and Spanish noun cognates have opposing grammatical gender?

While most French/Spanish noun cognates share the same gender (both descending from the same vulgar latin root), there are many exceptions having opposing genders (e.g. la couleur / el color; la ...
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2 answers
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Why in most (all?) languages don't adjectives have gender independently of the nouns they modify?

In many languages where nouns have gender, adjectives agree in gender with the nouns they modify. But it would be possible to imagine a language where each adjective had its own gender, which it kept ...
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How exactly are noun classes different to classifiers?

Before the beta I would've thought questions like this one would be such basic concepts that most contributors would be familiar with them. But after a few questions on gender and animacy it seems ...
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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 ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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Do speakers of languages that use gendered nouns automatically use the same gendered pronouns when referring to an animal as Mr. or Mrs.?

I know this is sort of a silly question, but the other day when walking in the park, I saw a squirrel and said, "Hello, Mr. Squirrel". I know for me, my choice of Mr. over Mrs. was random, or at least ...
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1 answer
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Does Swedish always had common and neuter genders?

Exactly as stated in the title. I wonder if it always been that way or it is some modern concept to enforce gender equality?
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