Talk:Grammatical gender

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Important: Please use standard style

  • Use wikitables.
  • Write foreign words in italics. and write the English translation in quotes. If gender is necessary, put it in brackets next to the word. Abbreviate.
e.g. (Spanish) perro (m.) "dog"
  • Use bold letters to highlight suffixes
e.g. (French) Une femme blonde "A blonde woman"
  • Avoid redundant examples: if a given section already has a good example in one language, don't add another for the sake of putting something in your language.

Treating Croatian, Serbian, Czech, Slovak etc.[edit]

These languages have the same gender system, masc/fem/neut + animacy splitting masculine. I propose treating them in the same way. Any objections? Should we have a separate list, or a separate entry in "more than three genders"? All such languages have the same system (at least: Slovene, Slovak, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Czech).

Anyone aware about other languages? Bulgarian? Ukrainian? From the description in Wikipedia it has a similar system as well (see Ukrainian grammar).

I would appreciate opinions from the experts before I do a major change in the article. dnik 09:47, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Russian has the same distinction (the accusative identical to the genitive in masc. singular and plural), it seems to run throughout the Slavic languages (I stand to be corrected, of course, I'm only really familiar with Russian!). I believe, purely from casual observation when I'm in Kyiv and/or Odessa (I prefer the second "s", sorry all you Ukrainians!) that Ukrainian, and probably Belarussian (no data at all!), has it, too, and I think it also applies to Polish. My real question is: Is animacy really a part of gender, despite it applying, in the above languages, only to masculine nouns?

Another question to speakers of Slavic languages other than Russian - do they also have the charming (but rather crazy!) system of using

Nominative after "1" Genitive singular after "2" to "4" and Genitive plural after "5" to "20" (etc.) ?? Maelli (talk) 08:20, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

It's only crazy if you don't know the history. Originally in common Slavic, the numbers 1 to 4 were adjectives and 5 to 10 were feminine nouns. To combine 5 with a noun, you would therefore need a genitive just like in English "a pair of apples". With the numbers 1 to 4 you would use the same case for both the noun and the numeral. But Slavic also had a dual number, so for 1 you would use singular, for 2 dual, and for 3 and 4 plural. The dual nominative ended in -a, just like the genitive singular, so that's why it now seems like you use the genitive singular. And it's not used only for 2 like it originally was. CodeCat (talk) 01:34, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Adding sources to this section and writing a brief paragraph on the explanation of how these specific languages treat gender would be a good way to start this section. A lot of these languages root from the same base language so that comparison will be nice to make. You can also make a separate section for examples of common phrases and translate them so it helps the reader understand your point of view. Akapoor1 (talk) 03:34, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

Gender vs. noun class[edit]

We also have noun class, yet this article mixes a lot of things in that are not properly "gender" and really belong in the other article. This should be fixed. I don't have the time to properly sort this out myself, so maybe there are other people who can take a crack at it? --JorisvS (talk) 08:32, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Bumping up to prevent this thread from getting archived. JorisvS, do you think the issue has been resolved? Uanfala (talk) 14:24, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
@Uanfala: Hmm, the current state of the definitions has "noun class" refer to a category of nouns in any conceivable categorization system, and "grammatical gender" refer to any such category that affects a language's grammar. That at least clearly distinguishes the two topics. Then again, scrolling down, noun class has detailed information about noun classes that affect languages' grammar. If the distinction is accurate, that material should really be moved to grammatical gender. --JorisvS (talk) 18:30, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
I dont think this is a very common distinction. Both grammar and noun classes are grammatical categories and therefore affect a languages grammar. I also dont think there is a single and mutually exclusive definition of "noun class" and "grammatical gender". It is a prototype, family resemblance type thing. Prototypically, grammatical gender categories are related semantically to biological sex, and are usually few. Prototypically, noun classes are not semantically related to biological sex, and are often many, and generally overtly marked. For example grammaticalized animacy distinctions are sometimes called "gender" and sometimes "noun classes". ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 21:25, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
I don't mind making that distinction, but it's just not the current state. Also, as long as there are two articles, the articles need to be about two distinct topics and they need to be clearly distinguished. And if usage out there is incosistent, we Wikipedians will have to make a choice what we mean by those terms (compare: in the Solar System, the scattered disk is both regularly included and excluded from the "Kuiper belt", but consensus here is to consistently exclude it, aside from noting the usage, of course). --JorisvS (talk) 22:04, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Addition to consequences of gender[edit]

I noticed there was no mention of the use of definite articles such as los or las. I was thinking this might be a helpful addition. Ram5156psuedu (talk) 16:48, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

I see plenty of mention of articles in the "Agreement" section. CodeCat (talk) 16:50, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

Allie Wodack psych of linguistics[edit]

I felt that the sections about the related linguistic concepts (noun classes and noun classifiers) were unnecessary, given that they did not even touch on grammatical gender. I also feel that a few new sections/paragraphs could have been added that correlated directly to more examples of different Languages using grammatical gender, and how grammatical gender differs in those specific languages. In our text book, there was a lot of talk about how heavily the Spanish/German usage of grammatical gender differs with one another, so it might have been interesting to see that portrayed more in this article. I do feel like the sources listed worked and were reliable, and there were an abundance of sources used, which is a positive. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alliewodack (talkcontribs) 21:40, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

Hi Allie, good observations -- it looks like the confusion/overlap between this article and noun class was noted back in 2014! perhaps that would be a good basis for our main project yEvb0 (talk) 02:03, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

Britnee Morris psych of linguistics[edit]

While there are French examples stated in this article it is essential to understand that the French language is set up very much like Spanish; however, it is learned in a phonological and morphological learning style. Learning in such way can pose difficulty as recognizing noun patterns with gender. Learning in a morphological style presents the study on how things are put together while phonological learning is how sounds are combined together for the use of natural language.


Britz16 (talk) 04:11, 3 June 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^ > Sokolik, M. E., & Smith, M. E. (1992). Assignment of gender to French nouns in primary and secondary language: A connectionist model. Second Language Research, 8(1), 39-58.

Info Overload[edit]

This was a really interesting article, however I feel as though there is too much information and that there were some sections that were unnecessary. I feel like everything that needed to be added has been added to the article. I felt like the section on 'animals' was a little unnecessary and that information could have been added to an already existing section or paragraph. --Mzk5557 (talk) 02:20, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Especially for an English-language encyclopedia, I think it is useful to have a separate sub-section on animals in the section on grammatical vs natural gender.
The article does appear rather repetitive. After a quick reading, I am left with a general impression that similar information is presented repeatedly in different sections and for different languages, as well as being additionally summarized in the overview section and again in the introduction. However, I have not looked into this very closely. --Boson (talk) 06:28, 28 June 2016 (UTC)


The talk page is getting rather long. Any objections to automatically archiving threads that have been dormant for 3 months? --Boson (talk) 06:39, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Automatic archiving is a good idea. But I'd put the cut-off period at about a year rather than three months. Uanfala (talk) 08:19, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
I have set up archiving with a cut-off period of 360 days. --Boson (talk) 14:07, 28 June 2016 (UTC)