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).

  • Hawaiian (Austronesian)[1] (There is a noun class system but it is flexible and determined by how the arguments in a statement interact with each other. Therefore, it doesn't constitute a grammatical gender. For example, a house is kino ʻō (o class) because you can go into it so "your house" would be "kou hale." However, if you build the house yourself, the possessive would take the kino ʻā form "kāu hale.")

Masculine and feminine[edit]

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.

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 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).
  • Polish: Masculine personal, Masculine animate, Masculine inanimate, Feminine, Neuter (traditionally, only masculine, feminine and neuter genders are recognized).
  • 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.
  • Zande: Masculine, feminine, animate, and inanimate.
  • Bantu languages have many noun classes.[10]
    • 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)
  • Tuyuca: Tuyuca has 50-140 noun classes.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elbert, Samuel H.; Pukui, Mary Kawena (1979). Hawaiian Grammar. University of Hawaii Press - HONOLULU. pp. 136–144.
  2. ^ http://idolinguo.org.uk/bgrammar.htm
  3. ^ http://mw.lojban.org/papri/Questions/en
  4. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20070904225112/http://www.latrobe.edu.au/rclt/StaffPages/aikhenvald%2Bdownloads/ClassifiersELL2published.pdf
  5. ^ Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, 1996. p.437
  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.