List of languages by type of grammatical genders

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article lists languages depending on their use of grammatical gender.

No grammatical gender[edit]

Certain language families, such as the Austronesian, Turkic, and Uralic language families, usually have no grammatical genders (see genderless language). Many indigenous American languages (across language families) have no grammatical gender.[1]







  • Kannada (Three gendered pronouns; no grammatical gender)
  • Malayalam (Three gendered pronouns; no grammatical gender)
  • Tamil (Three gendered pronouns; no grammatical gender)








Noun classifiers[edit]

Some languages without noun class may have noun classifiers instead. This is common in East Asian languages.

Masculine and feminine[edit]



  • Breton (Brythonic)
  • 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).
  • Cornish (Brythonic)
  • Corsican
  • French
  • Friulan
  • Galician (with some remains of neuter in the demonstratives isto (this here), iso/isso (this there/that here) and aquilo (that there), which can also be pronouns)
  • Hindi
  • Irish (Goidelic)
  • 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)'), although singulars of the type dito and uovo and their agreements coincide in form with masculine grammatical gender and the plurals conform to feminine grammatical morphology.
  • Kashmiri
  • Kurdish (only Northern dialect and only in singular nouns and pronouns, not in plural and not in adjectives or verbs; Central or Southern dialects have lost grammatical gender altogether)
  • 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.
  • Manx (Goidelic)
  • Mirandese - neuter exists in demonstratives “esto”, “esso” and “aqueilho”, and on indefinite pronouns (ex. alguien, someone; naide, no one; nada, nothing).
  • Occitan
  • Pashto
  • Portuguese - there is a trace of the neuter in the demonstratives (isto/isso/aquilo) and some indefinite pronouns.
  • Punjabi (see also Punjabi dialects)
  • Romani
  • Sardinian
  • Scottish Gaelic (Goidelic)
  • Sicilian
  • Sindhi
  • Spanish - there is a neuter of sorts, though generally expressed only with the definite article lo, used with adjectives denoting abstract categories: lo bueno, or when referring to an unknown object eso.
  • Urdu
  • Venetian
  • Welsh (Brythonic)
  • Zazaki

Other languages

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. See Gender in Danish and Swedish.)
  • 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.)
  • Filipino
  • (West) Frisian
  • 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. See Gender in Danish and Swedish.)

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]


Proto-Indo-European originally had two genders (animate and inanimate), and later the animate split into masculine and feminine, and the inanimate became neuter.[10]

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, countable nouns (such as animals), and uncountable nouns (which can refer to abstract nouns, fluids, mass, etc.)
  • Chechen: 6 classes[12] (masculine, feminine and 4 other miscellaneous classes)
  • Czech, Slovak and Rusyn: 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.[13][14]
    • Many Australian languages have a system of gender superclassing in which membership in one gender can mean membership in another.[15]
  • Worrorra: Masculine, feminine, terrestrial, celestial, and collective.[16]
  • Halegannada: Originally had 9 gender pronouns but only 3 exist in present-day Kannada.
  • Zande: Masculine, feminine, animate, and inanimate.
  • Bantu languages have many noun classes.[17]
    • Rwanda-Rundi family of languages (including Kinyarwanda,[18] Kirundi,[19] and Ha[20]): 16 noun classes grouped in 10 pairs.
    • Ganda: 10 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.[21][better source needed]
  • Sepik languages: Sepik languages all distinguish between at least masculine and feminine genders, but some distinguish three or more genders.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am Corbett, Greville G. (2013). Dryer, Matthew S.; Haspelmath, Martin (eds.). "Number of Genders". The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. – via WALS.
  2. ^ Caron, Bernard (2015). "Hausa Grammatical Sketch".
  3. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  4. ^ "Basic Grammar of the International Language Ido". Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  5. ^ "Questions/en - La Lojban". Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  6. ^ Elbert, Samuel H.; Pukui, Mary Kawena (1979). Hawaiian Grammar. University of Hawaii Press - HONOLULU. pp. 136–144. ISBN 9780824824891.
  7. ^ van den Heuvel, Wilco (2006). Biak: Description of an Austronesian Language of Papua. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, fn. p. 100.
  8. ^ "Aikhenvald. 2006. Classifiers and Noun Classes: Semantics" (PDF). Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  9. ^ Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, 1996. p.437
  10. ^ Luraghi, Silvia (2011). "The origin of the Proto-Indo-European gender system: Typological considerations" (PDF). Folia Linguistica. 45/2 (2). Mouton de Gruyter – Societas Linguistica Europa: 435–464. doi:10.1515/flin.2011.016. ISSN 0165-4004. S2CID 59324940.
  11. ^ "Ket – Ethnologue". Ethnologue. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  12. ^ Awde, Nicholas; Galaev, Muhammad (2014-05-22). Chechen-English English-Chechen Dictionary and Phrasebook. Routledge. ISBN 9781136802331.
  13. ^ Kibort, Anna; Corbett, Greville G. (2010-08-19). Features: Perspectives on a Key Notion in Linguistics. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199577743.
  14. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  15. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  16. ^ Clendon, Mark (2014). Worrorra: A Language of the North-West Kimberley Coast. Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-922064-59-2.
  17. ^ Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2016-09-05). How Gender Shapes the World. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191035692.
  18. ^ "East Africa Living Encyclopedia".
  19. ^ Ndayiragije, Juvénal; Nikiema, Emmanuel; Bhatt, Parth (2012). "The Augment in Kirundi: When Syntax Meets Phonology" (PDF). Selected Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics. University of Toronto. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  20. ^ Harjula, Lotta (2004). The Ha Language of Tanzania: Grammar, Texts and Vocabulary. Rüdiger Köppe. ISBN 3-89645-027-1 – via ResearchGate.
  21. ^ "Difficult Languages: Tongue Twisters - In search of the world's hardest language". The Economist. 2009-12-17. Retrieved 2009-12-23.
  22. ^ Foley, William A. (2018). "The Languages of the Sepik-Ramu Basin and Environs". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. Vol. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 197–432. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.