35

The only such language I know about is Pirahã, the indigenous language of the isolated Pirahã people of Amazonas, Brazil. It is minimalistic in many ways, having the least number of phonemes (only 11), lacking words for numbers and for colors. Daniel Everett, the greatest specialist on Pirahã who spent years living with the tribe, states Pirahã has the same ...


7

In German, diminutives are almost always neuter, even when they refer to humans, like Mädchen "girl". In Ancient Greek, similarly, παιδίον "child". German also has some non-diminutive neuter words for humans, like Weib "woman". In Latin, words for humans tend to be either common (they take on the grammatical gender of their referent) or epicene (they have a ...


6

No, not anymore so than in English. In German, Herr Pferd and Frau Pferd both work. Pferd is neuter, and I think that is almost the answer right there: so-called grammatical genders are just noun classes, in IE languages there are often three classes, not two, so how would a strict 1:1 mapping to two forms of address even be possible? Bär is masculine. ...


5

To approach this from a different angle, I am married to a Xhosa woman. There may be no word in her language for 'parent' in the sense of a biological parent. Rather, mothers and fathers are those who belong to the next generation up, in other words one's biological parents and all of their siblings. Sometimes the siblings may be called tata mncimnci (small ...


5

Learning the correct gender (and number) for referring to oneself is a very minute and relatively easy part of learning genders or noun classes (and number) generally. As such, it follows the same process, for French, English and every other language with genders or noun classes. Why easy? Generally the first and second person are among the nouns ...


4

Japanese has the property you describe, depending on how you analyze its sort-of pronouns. Also, according to the article kanojo 彼女 (f) was consciously introduced, but not recently. Pronouns are really low-frequency words in Japanese compared to other languages, but it has two gender-specific third person pronouns kare 彼 (m) and kanojo 彼女 (f). These words ...


4

There are a few million answers (32, if I'm not mistaken), here is one. Bantu languages have a complex system of grammatical gender where nouns have some gender, and things that agree with nouns agree in gender (we call them "classes"). The marker that you get depends on a lexical property of the noun, but also on whether it is singular or plural. ...


4

In Portuguese there are animals for which there are two different names, one for the male, and one for the female: O touro (bull) - a vaca (cow) O cavalo (horse) - a égua (mare) Other animals are referred by just one name, but it inflects by gender: O gato - a gata (cat) O porco - a porca (pig) Still others have just one name, that does not inflect by ...


4

Depending on how much stock you put in the words and findings of Daniel Everett, the Pirahā language of Brazil is said to have only one word, baíxi (pronounced [màíʔì]) to mean both ‘mother’ and ‘father’, as well as one word for ‘sibling’—and no other kinship terms at all.


4

As fdb noted in the comments, these are sometimes called "common nouns" (or "common-gender nouns"), and sometimes "epicene nouns". Some languages use both terms; when they do, the two usually have slightly different meanings: A "common-gender" noun (generis communis) can apply to either semantic gender, and switches its grammatical gender to agree with that....


4

In historical linguistics we usually say "communis generis" or "of common gender", abbreviated "c."


3

I think "epicene" might be the word you are looking for here (or one possible word). From Random House dictionary's definition of "epicene": Grammar. (of a noun or pronoun) capable of referring to either sex, as attendant, chairperson, Kim, one, or they; having common gender.


3

You seem to have picked up on the easiest pattern for this: Weak masculine nouns end in -i, weak feminine nouns end in -a. Weak nouns are easier because there's only one main pattern for each gender. This is less universal for proper names, but in general, a weak masculine will end in -i, and a weak feminine or neuter in -a. Nouns ending in -ir are the same ...


3

If I'm not mistaken, the determiner DIŠ (which is literally just the sign for "one", a single cuneiform wedge) can sometimes be found also with female names. The double determiner DIŠ.MUNUS is also sometimes attested* for females, further suggesting that DIŠ was not always regarded as strongly male-specific. Also, personal names were frequently written ...


3

Others have already mentioned that German has words with a fixed grammatical gender that can be used for both males and females, such as "Mensch" (m), "Person" (f), "Kind" (n), "Star" (m), "Opfer" (n), and words with neuter gender that denote either only females ("Weib", "Mädchen", "Fräulein") or only males ("Bübchen"), where the latter is less frequent. ...


2

In Riffian, feminine nouns are marked with the grammatical morpheme t-radical(-t), for example: ahermuc/boy -> tahermuct/girl. But, some feminine nouns don't follow this construction. For instance: -kinship nouns: imma / mother illi / daughter However, the gender agreement is always applied, for example: illi tamzyant / little daughter (compare to: ...


2

German has some terms like this, but not for kinship terms. Some neutra are: das Kind "the child", das Opfer "the victim", das Weib "the woman", das Mitglied "the member (of an organisation)", das Medium "the medium (in a seance)" Always masculine, even when referring to feminine people, are: der Säugling "the suckling", der Star "the star (in pop culture)"...


2

The case of hen in Swedish is the closest example I know of. hen does have a generic usage for people of unknown gender---so it does not fit your question exactly---but in most cases without explicit metalinguistic commentary, it's impossible to know whether a grammatical gender system arose due to social gender forces. We would not want to say Finland has ...


2

There are two main patterns where sex of the referent correlates with facts of pronunciation: overt grammatical gender marking on nouns, and "incidental" affixation (not reflecting grammatical gender in the language). Japanese does not have grammatical gender, but the diminutive clitic -ko is often found in female names. Luo also does not have grammatical ...


2

I think the previous answers missed the point by focusing on animals, which have a biological gender (apart from the gender assigned to the noun). As a native speaker of Spanish, if I wanted to address, say, a fork, my first instinct would definitely be to say Señor Tenedor as opposed to Señora Tenedor. But if I wanted to get the attention of, say, a napkin,...


2

Another such language, though fictional, is Mando'a. Mando'a is spoken by the Mandalorian faction in Star Wars. As stated by the creator of the language, Karen Traviss, Mando'a is regularly gender-neutral. Gender nouns are the same for men and women. Gender is implied contextually, if relevant. Where gender clarity is necessary, the adjectives jagyc (male)...


2

In the Ukrainian language, there are several words for 'girl', among them two are of the neuter gender: дівча [diwˈtʂa] and дівчисько [diwˈtʂɪsʲkɔ]. Дівча belongs to the so-called 4th noun declension, neuter gender nouns with consonantal stems in -t: nominative plural of дівча is дівчата [diwˈtʂata] where -a is a standard neuter gender plural marker, like ...


2

French has la sentinelle, sentry (typically a male soldier), and le mannequin, model (typically a woman).


1

There are professions ending in "man", which implies masculinity, and do not have official feminine equivalents, e.g. "fisherman". There is also "butler" (masculine) and "maid" (feminine) that fit your requirements as long as you don't consider them a pair. Whether something implies masculinity or femininity is ...


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