List of languages by type of grammatical genders

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This article lists languages depending on their approach to grammatical gender.

No grammatical gender[edit]

Certain language families, such as the Austronesian, Turkic and Uralic language families have no grammatical genders (see genderless language).

Masculine and feminine[edit]

  • Albanian The neuter has almost disappeared.
  • Akkadian
  • Ancient Egyptian
  • Amharic
  • Arabic However, Arabic distinguishes masculine and feminine in the singular and the dual. In the plural it distinguishes between male humans, female humans and non-human plurals (including collectives of humans, such as "nation", "people", etc.); non-human plurals are treated as feminine singular regardless of their gender in the singular.
  • Aramaic
  • Breton
  • Catalan although it has the pronoun "ho" which substitutes antecedents with no gender, like a subordinate clause or a neuter demonstrative ("això", "allò"). For example: "vol això" (he wants this)-->"ho vol" (he wants it), or "ha promès que vindrà" (he has promised he will come)-->"ho ha promès" (he has promised it).
  • Coptic
  • Cornish
  • Corsican
  • French
  • Friulan
  • Galician (with some remains of neuter in the demonstratives isto (this here), iso (this there/that here) and aquilo (that there), which can also be pronouns)
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Irish
  • Italian There is a trace of the neuter in some nouns and personal pronouns. E.g.: singular l'uovo, il dito; plural le uova, le dita ('the egg(s)', 'the finger(s)').
  • Kurdish (only Northern dialect; Central or Southern dialects have lost grammatical gender)
  • Ladin
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian There is a neuter gender for all declinable parts of speech (most adjectives, pronouns, numerals, participles), except for nouns, but it has a very limited set of forms.
  • Maltese
  • Manx
  • Occitan
  • Oromo language
  • Pashto The neuter has almost disappeared.
  • Portuguese There is a trace of the neuter in the demonstratives and some indefinite pronouns.
  • Punjabi
  • Romani
  • Sardinian
  • Scottish Gaelic
  • Sicilian
  • Spanish There is a neuter of sorts, though generally expressed only with the definite article lo, used with adjectives denoting abstract categories: lo bueno.
  • Tamazight (Berber)
  • Urdu
  • Venetian
  • Welsh
  • Zazaki

Common and neuter[edit]

In these languages, animate nouns are predominantly of common gender, while inanimate nouns may be of either gender.

  • Danish (Danish has four gendered pronouns, but only two grammatical genders in the sense of noun classes.)
  • Dutch (The masculine and the feminine have merged into a common gender in standard Dutch, but a distinction is still made by some when using pronouns, and in Southern-Dutch varieties. See Gender in Dutch grammar.)
  • Hittite (The Hittite "common" gender contains nouns that are either masculine or feminine in other Indo-European languages, while the "neuter" gender continues the inherited Indo-European neuter gender.)
  • Norwegian (In the Bergen dialect, and in some sociolects of Oslo.)
  • Swedish (The distinction between masculine and feminine still exists for people and some animals. Some dialects retain all three genders for all nouns.) (Swedish has four gendered pronouns, but only two grammatical genders in the sense of noun classes.)

Animate and inanimate[edit]

In many such languages, what is commonly termed "animacy" may in fact be more accurately described as a distinction between human and non-human, rational and irrational, "socially active" and "socially passive" etc.

Other two-gender system[edit]

  • Hawaiian (Austronesian)[5] The genders are kino ʻō (o class) and kino ʻā (a class). Kino ʻō nouns concern anything that you can go into (e.g., houses, cars, planes) and put on (e.g., clothes and other personal effects), as well as anything you have no control over (e.g., the weather, time, space, politics, etc.) including the generation of family you are born into (e.g., your siblings, your cousins) and all preceding generations (e.g., your parents, grandparents, etc.). Kino ʻā nouns make up for everything you do have control over, which includes your actions, which further extends to the people you "choose" to live life with (e.g., your spouse, your children and all descendants, as well as your friends and teachers). The genders are paramount in possessive noun phrases and prepositional phrases, in particular where English favors subordinate clauses. For example, your parents give you your name ("kou inoa") but if you decide to change your name or if someone in your life gives you new name, it would be your choice to assume it ("kāu inoa"). By extension, then: Ka inoa o kēia kāne denotes "the name of this man (which he was given by his parents)" where as ka inoa a kēia kāne would have to denote "the name of this man (which he has somehow chosen or constructed for himself)."

Masculine, feminine, and neuter[edit]

Note. In Slavic languages marked with an asterisk (*), traditionally only masculine, feminine and neuter genders are recognized, with animacy as a separate category for the masculine and feminine (in East Slavic languages) or masculine only (elsewhere); the actual situation is similar to Czech.

More than three grammatical genders[edit]

  • Burushaski: masculine, feminine, animals/countable nouns and inanimates/uncountable nouns/abstracts/fluids
  • Chechen: 6 classes[6] (masculine, feminine and 4 other miscellaneous classes)
  • Czech, Polish and Slovak: Masculine animate, Masculine inanimate, Feminine, Neuter (traditionally, only masculine, feminine and neuter genders are recognized, with animacy as a separate category for the masculine).
  • Pama-Nyungan languages including Dyirbal and other Australian languages have gender systems such as: Masculine, feminine (see Women, Fire and Dangerous Things), vegetable and neuter.[7][8] (Some linguists do not regard the noun class system of this language as grammatical gender.)
    • Many Australian languages have a system of gender superclassing in which membership in one gender can mean membership in another.[9]
  • Kannada: Originally had 9 gender pronouns but only 3 exist at present.
  • Ganda: ten classes called simply Class I to Class X and containing all sorts of arbitrary groupings but often characterised as people, long objects, animals, miscellaneous objects, large objects and liquids, small objects, languages, pejoratives, infinitives, mass nouns
  • Shona: 20 noun classes (singular and plural are considered separate classes)
  • Swahili: 18 noun classes (singular and plural are considered separate classes)
  • Zande: Masculine, feminine, animate, and inanimate.
  • Bantu languages have many noun classes.[10]
  • Tuyuca: Tuyuca has 50-140 noun classes.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://idolinguo.org.uk/bgrammar.htm
  2. ^ http://mw.lojban.org/papri/Questions/en
  3. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20070904225112/http://www.latrobe.edu.au/rclt/StaffPages/aikhenvald%2Bdownloads/ClassifiersELL2published.pdf
  4. ^ Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, 1996. p.437
  5. ^ Elbert, Samuel H.; Pukui, Mary Kawena (1979). Hawaiian Grammar. University of Hawaii Press - HONOLULU. pp. 136–144. 
  6. ^ https://books.google.pl/books?id=RtyhAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA8&lpg=PA8&dq=chechen+noun+classes&source=bl&ots=Qg7yqMUNp7&sig=RIH3yCGfhqeBICWcaEem8sf_ttA&hl=pl&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiBtcvB4YXUAhWM3SwKHSjuCI4Q6AEIMDAB#v=onepage&q=chechen%20noun%20classes&f=false
  7. ^ https://books.google.pl/books?id=0iIUDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21&dq=pama-nyungan+vegetable+male+female+gender&source=bl&ots=YIXb4ZCo8s&sig=iiTWMlTw-PrJ6kSQz1tzNvHNHug&hl=pl&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjMxbP9vobUAhWBBywKHYbGAzAQ6AEINzAF#v=onepage&q=pama-nyungan%20vegetable%20male%20female%20gender&f=false
  8. ^ https://scholar.harvard.edu/mpolinsky/files/Dyirbal.pdf
  9. ^ https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/data/UQ_11037/rpopt.pdf?Expires=1495704752&Signature=f5dJsIP1bJ4D3ICf4UTKiBehPDgx4Q8AUj~SIe4tL1-2n-fkAHl7fKtYDxYQ918mu0UUKM9OfGxw~DC3I-T~QRiGWHUhtl~RnJ4hH5TZNFO7RFouVpXeaBlRRd1fT0t8I7sTswoT9qjwZ3zqV3O-fGfOHUoblz4Aayl7U5IsPGK6sXpacpkketqOf~bXayFbg9C~kj~QJkm-naqsAdVeQkngzUw1~hymGbd2rNcVnGXxeq4g6S04aoF2idHVfE8JAlJ1ov6~MG83dp6BhqtRRzCxV396TyyUjc4AdHqUZrsvchvpYnjPBqNH5MKMfKD8CKGDG7Fgtf9fBgTAiBz2qg__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJKNBJ4MJBJNC6NLQ
  10. ^ https://books.google.pl/books?id=93bADAAAQBAJ&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21&dq=australian+languages+genders+vegetable+miscellaneous&source=bl&ots=Q2IU4OCMD0&sig=FIsykRepTUxf8KjwR48MzowZu5E&hl=pl&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwju1Lm4-4jUAhWBBSwKHYW_Bz4Q6AEIUDAI#v=onepage&q=australian%20languages%20genders%20vegetable%20miscellaneous&f=false
  11. ^ "Difficult Languages: Tongue Twisters - In search of the world’s hardest language". The Economist. 2009-12-17. Retrieved 2009-12-23.