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Book: The Five-Minute Linguist

Chapter: 10. What is Grammatical Gender?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.38129


Languages have ‘natural gender’ if animate males are assigned the masculine, animate females the feminine, and inanimate objects are assigned the neuter gender. Languages have ‘formal gender’ if they assign a gender to nouns arbitrarily. But is formal gender completely arbitrary? Some argue that the gendering of nouns has cognitive implications for speakers.

Chapter Contributors

  • Caroline Myrick ( - cmyrick) 'Independent scholar'