Gender neutrality in languages with grammatical gender

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A sign at a feminists' protest in Madrid, Spain, explaining gender-neutral, inclusive language in Spanish.

Gender neutrality in languages with grammatical gender is the usage of wording that is balanced in its treatment of the genders in a non-grammatical sense. For example, advocates of gender-neutral language challenge the traditional use of masculine nouns and pronouns (e.g. "man" and "he") when referring to two or more genders or to a person of an unknown gender in most Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic languages. This stance is often inspired by feminist ideas about gender equality.[1] Gender neutrality is also used colloquially when one wishes to be inclusive of people who identify as non-binary genders or as genderless.


The situation of gender-neutral language modification in languages that have (at least) masculine and feminine grammatical genders, such as French, German, Greek and Spanish, is very different from that of English, because it is often impossible to construct a gender-neutral sentence as can be done in English. For example, in French, the masculine gender supersedes the feminine; the phrase la femme et l'homme (the woman and the man) is replaced by the pronoun ils (they [masculine]). In German, the plural is similar to the feminine singular – sie is the plural form for both masculine and feminine, and the feminine singular article. Furthermore, Sie, with a capital S, is used as the polite, honorific form of you in a formal context.

Accordingly, language modification advocates have focused much of their attention on issues such as job titles. Due to the presence of grammatical gender, their immediate goal in this case is often the exact opposite of that in English: creating feminine job titles rather than eliminating them. As such, "gender-inclusiveness" does not necessarily mean eliminating gender, but rather a use of language which they feel is balanced in its treatment of only two genders. For example, they may feel that it is insulting to use the masculine gender for a female professional, for example calling a woman le médecin (the [male] doctor) as this could imply that women change gender or become somehow more manly when they go to work. The creation of new job titles for women is often less controversial than language modifications proposed by advocates of gender-neutral language for English, as it is often seen simply as a natural evolution as women have entered more professions—not only having a title for being the "wife of a professional" which often has been the case historically. Thus modern ideas of gender inclusivity are able to advance working within the already existing lexicon and without developing new explicit gender neutral forms.

At the same time, the newer feminine forms in most such languages are usually derived from the primary masculine term by adding or changing a suffix (such as the German Ingenieurin from Ingenieur, engineer), so some feminists hold that these words are not equivalent to the masculine words because they are secondary forms. Others object to the perceived clumsiness of such neologisms. Citing German as an example, almost all the names for female professionals end in -in, and because of the suffix none can consist of a single syllable as some masculine job titles do (such as Arzt, doctor). A few times the female form derives and is employed for both sexes, like in "male nurse", "male midwife" across several languages. And in few cases the male form is derived from the female, as in words for "widow/widower", "whore/manwhore" etc.

A further complication is that the creation of distinctly different job titles for men and women means that in writing about hypothetical people of undetermined gender, both words must be mentioned each time, which can become quite cumbersome, or one of the titles must be accepted as genderless which is inherently divisive. In languages where the gender of a noun also affects the formation of other words in a sentence, such as gender-marked adjectives, pronouns, or verbs, this can lead to repetitive or complicated sentences if both terms are used, as the sentence must essentially be repeated twice.

But in some languages, for example in Spanish, there have also been campaigns against the traditional use of the masculine gender to refer to mixed gender groups. Advocates of these changes feel that they are necessary in order for the language to not further the subordination of women. These modification efforts have become much more controversial. In addition to the sorts of conflict seen in the English-speaking world, some opponents of these changes see them as examples of cultural imperialism, or the exporting of Anglo-Saxon ideas and standards. English had already naturally lost most of its grammatical gender well before the beginning of the feminist movement, making a gender-neutral modification of the language much more feasible. The argument against foreign interference can also be used to support neutral changes, such as the rejection of the standards of the Royal Spanish Academy by Argentine supporters of neutrality.[2] It is important to note that gender marking in a given language can vary and not be deeply related to a social trend. Finnish has no gender markers in the language, but has no more of feminist or LGBTQ activism than Israel (history), with a language where gender is central, thus such mentioned correlation is not seen.


Hebrew has a high degree of grammatical gender. Virtually every noun, as well as most verbs and pronouns of the second and third person, is either grammatically masculine or feminine. As a result of campaigns for employment equality and gender neutral language, laws have been passed in Israel that require job ads to be written in a form which explicitly proclaims that the job is offered for both males and females. The separator "/" is often used, for example, דרוש/ה, d(a)rush/a, מזכיר/ה, mazkir/a ("wanted", masculine and feminine, and "secretary" masculine and feminine, respectively).[citation needed]

In addition, there are multiple efforts to add gender-neutral grammar to Hebrew, mostly led by American Jews.[3] One example is the Non-binary Hebrew Project, which uses the suffix אֶה (-eh) for the gender-neutral/non-binary form of a word.[4]

In a separate instance of language change, certain 2nd and 3rd person feminine plural verb forms of earlier Hebrew have become archaic in modern Israeli Hebrew. What used to be old masculine plural forms are now used for both masculine and feminine.

Germanic languages[edit]


The German language uses three grammatical genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter for all nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. The declension system employs suffixes to mark the grammatical gender (m/f/n), number (singular/plural), and grammatical case (nominative, dative, accusative, genitive) of German nouns and adjectives. Nouns referring to people are mostly masculine or feminine, corresponding to their sex.[a] A mixed group of men and women traditionally requires the use of masculine forms; only a group consisting entirely of women uses the feminine plural noun forms. Masculine forms are used for individuals or groups when the sex is not known. Starting in the 1990s, feminists and others have advocated for more gender-neutral usage, creating modified noun forms which have received mixed reactions.


As in other languages, the masculine word is typically unmarked and only the feminine form requires use of a suffix added to the root to mark it. Feminine forms of German nouns are usually created by adding -in to the root, which corresponds to the masculine form. For example, the root for secretary is the masculine form Sekretär. Adding the feminine suffix yields Sekretärin ("woman secretary"; plural: Sekretärinnen: "women secretaries").

Feminist Sprachkritik[edit]

Grammatical forms have been challenged in parts of larger political movements. The word Fräulein, meaning 'Miss', was banned from use in official correspondence in February 1971.[5]

At the end of the 1970s, groundbreaking work created the field of German feminist linguistics[b] and on the one hand critiqued the inherent structure and usage of German, and on the other men's and women's language behavior, to conclude that German is antagonistic towards women (frauenfeindlich). For example, the use of the generic masculine form when referring to mixed groups makes women have no representation in the language, mirroring a "man's world", and primes speakers to perceive students, professors, employees, bosses, politicians, every group spoken about — as male. Women were invisible in the patterns of speech and this work goes on to say that language doesn't only mirror reality, it creates it.[6][7][8]

The lower sign PfadfinderInnenheim points to a Scouting residence[c] for Boy- and Girl Scouts.

The upper sign Wahlarztordination Chirurgie/Allgemeinmedizin, roughly "Private Doctor Consultation Surgery/General medicine", points to the office of a Wahlarzt [de], a "doctor of choice" who is not paid directly by the health insurance company. This sign uses the masculine Wahlarzt and not WahlärztIn.

In the 1990s, a form of contraction using a non-standard typographic convention called Binnen-I with capitalization inside the word started to be used (e.g., SekretärIn; SekretärInnen). In some circles this is especially used to formulate written openings, such as Liebe KollegInnen (Dear colleagues). One obstacle to this form is that one cannot audibly distinguish between terms (i.e. SekretärIn sounds the same as Sekretärin). This is a non-standard solution for how to economically express a position of gender quality in one German word, with an expression that would otherwise require three words, and is not accepted by the Duden, but has achieved a certain level of penetration among some circles in Germany. Opponents of such modification consider the capitalized I in the middle of a word to be a corruption of the language. It is also not clear which gender declension the -In form is to be used with. Sometimes all adjectival endings are likewise capitalized, such as jedeR for "each person" instead of jede (each grammatically female) or jeder (each grammatically male). This form also tends to be associated with the political left, as it is often used by left-leaning newspapers, notably Die Tageszeitung and the Swiss weekly WOZ Die Wochenzeitung,[9] and feminists.

Gender gap and gender star[edit]

Since the 2010s, a form is sometimes used in academic and feminist circles in which an underscore (_) or an asterisk is inserted just before the gender-specific suffix, as in "liebe_r Student_in" or "liebe*r Student*in" ("dear student"). These forms, called "gender gap" and "gender star" (Gendergap and Gendersternchen in German), are meant to convey an "open space" for all gender identities, whether male, female or genderqueer. In spoken language the underscore or asterisk may be indicated by a glottal stop.[10]

Romance languages[edit]

Historical note[edit]

Ancient Greek and Classical Latin had generic words for "human"/"humanity in general" or "human being"—ἄνθρωπος (anthropos) (grammatically masculine or feminine) and homo (grammatically masculine) respectively—which are the etyma of such modern terms as "anthropology" or Homo sapiens. For "male human as opposed to female human", there existed the separate words ἀνήρ/ἀνδρός (aner/andros) and vir (the etyma of English "androgen" and "virile", respectively). Note Ancient Greek is not a romance language but the many borrowings we see demonstrates a good contrast with the Latin.

Most modern derivatives of the Latin noun homo, however, such as French homme, Italian uomo, Portuguese homem, and Spanish hombre, have acquired a predominantly male denotation, although they are sometimes still used generically, notably in high registers. For example, French Musée de l'homme for an anthropology museum exhibiting human culture, is not specifically "male culture". This semantic shift was parallel to the evolution of the word "man" in English. These languages therefore largely lack a third, neutral option aside from the gender-specific words for "man" and "woman". Spanish ser humano, Portuguese ser humano and French être humain are used to say "human being". In Romanian, however, the cognate om retains its original meaning of "any human person", as opposed to the gender-specific words for "man" and "woman" (bărbat and femeie, respectively). In Romansh the word um only refers to a male, whereas "human being" is expressed in different ways in the different dialects: carstgaun or uman.

Scientific Latin[edit]

In binomial nomenclature, Latin species names are typically either masculine or feminine, often ending in the -i suffix for masculine names and the -ae suffix for feminine names. In 2021, the species Strumigenys ayersthey was named with the suffix -they (derived from the English singular they pronoun) to create the first gender-neutral Latin binomial name. It was named to honor the non-binary community.[11]


To make words or phrases gender-inclusive, French-speakers use two methods:

  1. Orthographic solutions strive to include both the masculine and feminine endings in the word. Examples include hyphens (étudiant-e-s), middle dots (étudiant·e·s),[12] parentheses (étudiant(e)s), or capital letters (étudiantEs). The parentheses method is now often considered sexist, because parentheses are used to show something less important. Most writers avoid this practice in official titles such as Governor General and favor the next process.
  2. Hendiadys solutions contain a feminine word and a masculine word: toutes et tous, citoyennes et citoyens.

Within France, this gender-inclusive language has been met with some harsh resistance from the Académie Française and French conservatives. For example, in 2017, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe called for the banning of inclusive language in official documents because it purportedly violated French grammar.[13] Additionally, the Académie Française does not support the inclusive feminine forms of traditionally masculine job titles, stating their position on their website:

L’une des contraintes propres à la langue française est qu’elle n’a que deux genres : pour désigner les qualités communes aux deux sexes, il a donc fallu qu’à l’un des deux genres soit conférée une valeur générique afin qu’il puisse neutraliser la différence entre les sexes. L’héritage latin a opté pour le masculin. [...] Des changements, faits de propos délibéré dans un secteur, peuvent avoir sur les autres des répercussions insoupçonnées. Ils risquent de mettre la confusion et le désordre dans un équilibre subtil né de l’usage, et qu’il paraîtrait mieux avisé de laisser à l’usage le soin de modifier.[14]

One of the constraints of the French language is that it only has two genders; to describe qualities common to both sexes, it was necessary to impart a generic value to only one of the two genders so it can neutralize the difference between the sexes. The Latin heritage opted for the masculine. [...] Changes, made deliberately in one area, may have unexpected consequences in others. They risk sowing confusion and disorder in a subtle balance that has been achieved through use, and that it would seem better advised to leave it to usage to make any changes.

In this same statement, the Académie Française expressed that if an individual wishes for her job title reflect her gender, it is her right to name her own identity in personal correspondences.[14]

In contrast linguistic traditionalism in France, the use of feminine job titles is more widely accepted in the larger Francophonie. The use of non-gendered job titles in French is common and generally standard practice among the francophones in Belgium and in Canada. By law in Quebec, the use of gender-inclusive job titles is obligatory if the writer has not opted for gender-free terms.[citation needed]

Although some long-established positions of high prestige, such Governor General of Canada exist in both masculine and feminine variants, honorary titles remain masculine throughout the Francophonie even when the award or honor is bestowed unto a woman. Examples are titles such as Grand Officier, Commandeur, Officier, Chevalier, Compagnon, Immortel used in the Order of Canada, the National Order of Quebec, France's Legion of Honor and the Académie Française, or Belgium's and Monaco's Order of the Crown.[15]

The most common way of feminizing job titles in French is by adding a feminine suffix to the masculine version of the noun, most commonly -e (l'avocat, l'avocate), -eure (le docteur, la docteure), -euse (le travailleur, la travailleuse), -esse (le maire, la mairesse), -trice (le directeur, la directrice). For job titles ending in epicene suffixes such as -iste (le/la dentiste) or -logue (le/la psychologue), the only change is in the article (le/la) and any associated adjectives. Abbreviated professions only change the article as well (le/la prof).

In some cases, words already had a feminine form which was rarely used, and a new one was created. For instance docteur had the feminine doctoresse but docteure was still created. Chasseur had the feminine chasseresse (typically used only of the goddess Artemis) but chasseuse was still created. Nowadays both feminine forms can be encountered, with the old ones being generally more prevalent in Europe and the new ones in Québec.

Words that formerly referred solely to a dignitary's wife (l'ambassadrice) are now used to refer to a woman holding the same dignitary position. Although marriage titles have mainly dropped out of use, many cite the possible confusion as a reason for continuing to use those such as Madame le Président or Madame l'ambassadeur. For this reason, the traditional use remains the most frequent in France. Nonetheless, in France, the husband of a female ambassador would never be known as Monsieur l'ambassadrice. Instead, he would be called literally "the ambassador's husband", le mari de l'ambassadeur. The title mademoiselle has been rejected in public writing by the French government in December 2012, in favour of madame for all adult women, without respect to civil status.

Non-binary French-speakers in Quebec have coined a gender-neutral 3rd person pronoun iel as an alternative to the masculine il or feminine elle.[16] Iel was also added to Le Petit Robert in November 2021 [17]


In Italian, female job titles are easily formed with -a, -essa and other feminine suffixes: a female teacher is a maestra, a female doctor is a dottoressa. Historically, for jobs that have only recently opened up to women, there was some resistance to using the feminine forms, which are considered ugly or ridiculous, but recent surveys argue the average citizen has no problem with these forms.[18] For example, a female lawyer can be called avvocata or avvocatessa (feminine) but some might prefer to use the word avvocato (masculine). Opponents[who?] of these feminine forms claim that they're offensive because they overemphasize the gender, or that they're incorrect neologisms. The Accademia della Crusca and the Treccani have spoken in favour of the usage of feminine job titles.[19][20]

In spite of traditional standards of Italian grammar, some Italians in recent years have opted to start using the pronoun "loro" (a literal translation of English "they"), to refer to people who desire to be identified with a gender neutral pronoun, although this usage may be perceived as incorrect due to the plural agreement of verbs.[citation needed] The suffix -u, while not commonly used in standard Italian, has also been suggested as a gender neutral suffix.[21][22][verification needed]. In a similar way, some advocated using the schwa (ə) as a new letter to signify a neutral or non-binary gender. However, most Italians would understand this new symbol orally as a masculine ending, visually as a feminine ending.[23]

Brazilian Portuguese[edit]

In practice, the proposal is to use E as a nominal ending for words that admit gender inflection (e.g., Ariel é muito esperte, "Ariel is very smart").[24]

The first person possessive pronoun, in contrast to masculine 'meu' and feminine 'minha,' is 'minhe' in neutral form (e.g. Ariel é minhe namorade, "Ariel is my partner"). For third person personal pronouns (where the masculine is 'ele' and the feminine is 'ela'), the most recognized options are 'elu'[24] and 'ile',[25] among others, the usage depends on the user's preference.

Brazilian Portuguese is strongly regionalized, so gender neutral language does vary from state to state. For example, the gender neutral language from the São Paulo community is different compared to gender neutral language from the Rio Branco. Also, due to Brazil's conservative society and government,[26] gender neutral language is often seen as a political statement.

Slavic languages[edit]


Russian intrinsically shares many of the same non-gender-neutral characteristics with other European languages.

Job titles have a masculine and a feminine version in Russian, though in most cases the feminine version is only used in colloquial speech. The masculine form is typically treated as "unmarked", i.e. it does not necessarily imply that the person is male, while the feminine form is "marked" and can only be used when referring to a woman. In some cases, the feminine title is used, on occasion, as derogatory or with connotation of a suboptimal performance. In other cases, it is only used as slang, e.g. врачиха (vračícha, female doctor), директорша direktórša or sometimes директриса direktrísa (female director). Sometimes, this is not the case: актриса (aktrísa, actress), поэтесса (poetéssa, poetess; e.g. Anna Akhmatova insisted on being called поэт (poét, masculine) instead).[citation needed] Even in cases where the feminine term is not seen as derogatory, however, there is a growing tendency[citation needed] to use masculine terms in more formal contexts that stress the individual's membership in a profession: В 15 лет она стала учителем фортепиано (V 15 let oná stála učítelem fortepiáno, "At age 15 she became a piano teacher [m]", formal register). The feminine form may be used in less formal context to stress a personal description of the individual: Настя стала учительницей (Nástja stála učítel'nicej, "Nastia became a teacher [f]", informal register).[27] Military ranks and formal offices may also have a feminine term (e.g. генеральша generál'ša, советница sovétnica), which usually means that the referred person is the wife of the appropriate office holder. However, this use is somewhat archaic.


Gender-neutrality occurs in Slovak in certain forms of conjugation and certain forms of address. When addressing someone directly in the present tense or making a definitive statement about them in the future tense, the first and second person of both the singular and plural number does not directly distinguish the gender of the individual or group of people being addressed. Thus, verbs such as mám/nemám, vidím/nevidím, idem/nejdem (first person singular), máš/nemáš, vidíš/nevidíš, ideš/nejdeš (second person singular), máme/nemáme, vidíme/nevidíme, ideme/nejdeme (first person plural), máte/nemáte, vidíte/nevidíte, idete/nejdete (second person plural) are gender-neutral, as they apply to all three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter) in the usual form of the present tense and future tense. In contrast, the past tense distinguishes grammatical gender more thoroughly even in the first and second persons of both the singular and the plural.

In terms of social adress, the formal plural (honoriffic plural) is commonplace in Slovak when addressing complete strangers, or people whom the speaker is not aquainted with on an informal basis, or people in a formal work environment. Both male and female individuals are addressed with a gender-neutral sounding formal plural in such social situations. (This is equivalent to the German and French use of the same type of plural, or English's transition to using the honoriffic you in both singular and plural.) An occassional colloquial mistake of Slovak speakers is using the formal plural but still gendering the verb as masculine or feminine, despite the only standard manner for using formal plural being the non-gendering of the verb used in formal plural. Boli ste spokojní ? is a formal plural that asks "Were you satisfied ?" any individual (regardless of gender) or any group of people (again, regardless of gender). An informally addressed form of the question would be Bol si spokojný ? (masculine grammatical gender) or Bola si spokojná ? (feminine grammatical gender). The neuter gender sentence Bolo si spokojné ? is technically possible, but no person is ever addressed in the neuter gender in everyday speech. It is important to bear in mind that directly addressing a boy or girl on an everyday basis with the more neuter-gender forms chlapča or dievča is not a honoriffic, and would be considered very old-fashioned (i.e. 19th century) in modern everyday Slovak, and even somewhat condescending in tone towards a younger person. The formal plural in Slovak is not simply neuter grammatical gender, but a formulation that encompasses all three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, neuter).

Celtic languages[edit]

Nouns in the six modern Celtic languages belong to either one of two groups, masculine or feminine. There are only two singular third person personal prounouns which correspond to the grammatical gender of the noun to which they refer;[28][29][30][31][32][33] for example, the Scottish Gaelic for "It is big" is Tha e mòr when referring to leabhar, "a book" (masculine), but Tha i mòr when talking about deoch, "a drink" (feminine).[32]

A very small number of nouns in some languages can be either masculine or feminine.[28][29] When referring to these mixed-gender nouns, a decision has to be made, based on factors such as meaning, dialect or sometimes even personal preference, whether to use a masculine or feminine pronoun. There are no neutral or mixed-gender singular third person pronouns.

The result of how having two grammatical genders manifests itself in each individual language is detailed below.


In Welsh, the third person singular personal pronouns are ef, (f)e, (f)o "he, it" and hi "she, it". Hi, "she", is the traditional dummy pronoun;[34] it is used when talking about the weather, Mae hi'n wyntog, "It is windy", or time, Mae hi'n ddeg o'r gloch, "It is ten o'clock".

The singular possessive pronoun ei is the same word for both masculine and feminine referents, but the gender difference is seen in the sound changes it effects on the following word. When masculine, ei the subsequent word will take a soft mutation, but when feminine, ei causes an aspirate mutation or prefixes an h to a vowel and the semivowel [j]. An example of this is the word cath "cat" becoming either ei gath "his cat" or ei chath "her cat".

Grammatical gender is sometimes shown in other parts of speech by means of mutations, vowel changes and specific word choices. Examples of this include:

  • y mwyaf "the biggest" (masculine) without mutation vs y fwyaf "the biggest" (feminine) with soft mutation[28]
  • Cafodd Sam ei weld "Sam was seen" (masculine) with soft mutation of gweld vs Cafodd Sam ei gweld "Sam was seen" (feminine) with no mutation[28]
  • cochyn "a redhead" (masculine) vs cochen "a redhead" (feminine)[35]
  • un gwyn "a white one" (masculine) vs un wen "a white one" (feminine) with mutation and vowel change[28]
  • pedwar cariad "four lovers/boyfriends" with masculine pedwar vs pedair cariad "four lovers/girlfriends" with feminine pedair[28]

A few job titles have gendered terms, for example dyn busnes "businessman" and dynes fusnes "businesswoman". In other instances a feminine job title may derive from a masculine one such as feminine gofalwraig "carer, caretaker" from masculine gofalwr, or ysgrifenyddes "secretary" from ysgrifennydd. Occasionally only one meaning of a masculine word can be made feminine, for example, when "secretary" refers to a personal assistant, there are masculine and feminine forms, ysgrifennydd and ysgrifenyddes respectively, however when "secretary" is used as a title for people in leadership, the only valid form is ysgrifennydd.[35] This means, in her job as Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams is always Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros Addysg despite being a woman. The same is true of athro and athrawes, which are the masculine and feminine words for "teacher", but when used to mean "professor", only athro can be used.[35]

Theoretically any job title can be made feminine but in practice most job titles without a feminine suffix are used as a gender-neutral term.[35] Some authorities emphasize that a distinction needs to be made between biological sex and grammatical gender. The Welsh Academy English–Welsh Dictionary explains "it must be reiterated, gender is a grammatical classification, not an indicator of sex; it is misleading and unfortunate that the labels masculine and feminine have to be used, according to tradition. (...) There is no reason why nouns ending in -wr, -ydd should not refer equally well to a woman as to a man."[35] This is why the Welsh Government's Translation Service recommends translating such phrases as "If a parent sends his or her child to school" is translated as "Os bydd rhiant yn anfon ei blentyn i’r ysgol", literally "If a parent sends his child to school" as rhiant "parent" is a masculine noun.[36]

Some consider the agent suffix -ydd to be more gender neutral than -wr[28] however the Translation Service advises against the use of words ending in -ydd in job titles unless it is natural to do so.[36] This means that established words such as cyfieithydd "translator" are readily used whereas terms such as rheolydd for "manager" instead of rheolwr or cyfarwyddwraig "(specifically feminine) director" instead of cyfarwyddwr are proscribed by the Service. It does however allow for their use in personal contexts such as email signatures and business cards.

A distinction in gender is also found in some other classes of words, for instance, those referring to nationality. This becomes is more apparent in Welsh, which prefers to use a noun,[35] than in English, which tends to use an adjective of nationality, for example, "He is Irish" is more often Gwyddel yw e "He is an Irishman" and "She is Irish" becomes Gwyddeles yw hi "She is an Irishwoman". With countries that do not have such a close connection with Wales, usually those further away, only one form of the noun is found, for example, Rwsiad "a Russian" (both masculine and feminine).[35] Phrases can also be used rather than a single word and these can be gender specific, e.g., dyn o Angola "a man from Angola, an Angolan" and merch o Angola "a woman from Angola, an Angolan", or have one form for both referents, e.g., un o Angola "one from Angola, an Angolan".[35]

In the plural, there is a single third person plural pronoun, nhw "they", and no distinction is made for grammatical gender.[28] With nouns, the tendency is to use the form of the grammatically masculine nouns when referring to groups of mixed sex, so athrawon "teachers" (from masculine athro) is used when describing male and female teachers together.[37] The plural athrawesau "teachers" (from feminine athrawes) exists is used rarely and in contexts where the speaker desires to emphasize the fact that the teachers are female.


The Cornish independent third person singular pronouns are ev 'he, it' and hi 'she, it'.[29]

Ken George has recently suggested a complete set of gender-neutral pronouns in Cornish for referring to non-binary people, based on the forms George believes these pronouns would take if the neuter gender had survived from Proto-Celtic to Middle Cornish (independent *hun, possessive *eydh, infixed *'h, demonstrative *homma, *humma, and prepositional suffix *-es).[38]

Job titles usually have both a masculine and feminine version, the latter usually derived from the former by means of the suffix -es, for example, negesydh "businessman" and negesydhes "businesswoman", skrifennyas "(male) secretary" and skrifenyades "(female) secretary", sodhek "(male) officer" and sodhoges "(female) officer".[39] In the last example, compare Welsh swyddog which uses the grammatically masculine term for both males and females. Occasionally, nouns have only one gender despite referring to either males or females, for example kannas "messenger" is always feminine.[39][40]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ But not always: Mädchen ("girl") is neuter.
  2. ^ These groundbreaking works were by the pioneers in German feminist linguistics, Senta Trömel-Plötz, and Luise F. Pusch.
  3. ^ Pfadfinder is '[Boy] Scout' + -Innen + Heim ('shelter, hut, residence') gives PfadfinderInnenheim with Binnen-I, so: 'Boy- and Girl Scouts trail shelter.'


  1. ^ Gycax (2012). Sexism and Attitudes Toward Gender-Neutral Language]
  2. ^ "Kicillof desafió a la RAE por el lenguaje inclusivo: "No nos van a explicar desde España cómo tenemos que hablar"". (in Spanish). 22 June 2022. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  3. ^ "The Movement to Create a More Queer-Inclusive Judaism". 28 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Nonbinary Hebrew Project | Grammar & Systematics".
  5. ^ Novy, Beatrix (February 16, 2021). "Vor 50 Jahren: Die Anrede "Fräulein" wurde abgeschafft". Deutschlandfunk. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  6. ^ Stötzel 1995, p. 518.
  7. ^ Klass 2010, p. 2–4.
  8. ^ Brenner 2008, p. 5–6.
  9. ^ WOZ Die Wochenzeitung
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Works cited

External links[edit]