Gender (grammar)

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Gender is an inflectional dimension used on referring expressions to designate semantic class membership of their denotatum.

"By the term gender is here meant any grammatical class-division presenting some analogy to the distinction in the Aryan languages between masculine, feminine and neuter, whether the division be based on the natural division into the two sexes, or on that between animate and inanimate, or on something else." (Jespersen 1924:226)

Gender is a term used to express to fact that nouns and determiners can belong to different morphological classes (Phi-features). In many languages nouns fall into three groups: masculine, feminine, and neuter nouns, each group being inflected differently.


in Russian all nouns belong to one of three groups. If a noun ends in a non-palatalized consonant in its basic form it is masculine (e.g. stol 'table'), if it ends in -a it is feminine (e.g. lampa 'lamp'), and if it ends in -o it is neuter (e.g. okno 'window'). Some languages only distinguish two genders: EXAMPLE: Dutch only differentiates between neuters and non-neuters; non-neuters take the definite article de (de man 'the man'), while neuters take the definite article het (het kind 'the child').


Traditionally, the distinction between natural gender (which designates the biological sex of animate referents) and grammatical gender (categorisations which depend on other, culturally specific criteria) has attracted much attention.

List of genders


See also


genus Lat.

The term 'gerder' itself derives from an extremely general word meaning 'class' or 'kind'.



Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics

Other languages