In linguistics, grammatical gender is defined as a system of noun classification present in approximately one fourth of the world's languages. In languages with grammatical gender, every noun must pertain to one category called gender. The different genders form a closed set of usually 2 or 3 divisions, in which all the nouns are included. Very few items can belong to several classes at once. Common gender divisions include: masculine, feminine, neuter, animate, or inanimate.
In a few languages, the gender assignation of nouns is solely determined by their meaning or attributes (e.g. biological sex, humanness, animacy). However, in most languages, this semantic division is only partially valid, and many nouns may belong to a gender category that contrasts with their meaning (e.g. the word "manliness" could be of feminine gender). In this case, the gender assignation can also be influenced by the morphology or phonology of the noun, or in some cases, can be completely arbitrary.
Grammatical gender manifests itself when words related to a noun (e.g. determiners, pronouns, adjectives) change their form (inflection) according to the gender of noun they refer to (agreement). The parts of speech affected by gender agreement, the circumstances in which it occurs, and the way words are marked for gender vary cross-linguistically. Gender inflection may interact with other grammatical categories (e.g. number, case).
Grammatical gender is typical of the Afro-Asiatic, Dravidian, Indo-European, and Northeast Caucasian language families; as well as several Australian aboriginal languages (e.g. Dyirbal, Kalaw Lagaw Ya). Also, most Niger–Congo languages have extensive systems of noun classes, which can be grouped into several grammatical genders.
Grammatical gender is usually absent from the Altaic, Austronesian, Sino-Tibetan, Uralic and most Native American language families.
Modern English is not considered to have grammatical gender, although historically it did.
Read more about Grammatical Gender: Definition, Gender Inflection, Gender Agreement, Grammatical Vs. Natural Gender, Other Types of Gender Classifications, Gender Assignment, Useful Roles of Grammatical Gender, Gender in English, Occurrence, Gender in Words Borrowed From One Language By Another, Influence On Culture, Auxiliary and Constructed Languages
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... intrinsically shares many of the same non-gender-neutral characteristics with other European languages ... Certain words are understood to refer to either men or women regardless of their grammatical gender ... and are in fact traditionally used in cases where gender-specific terms would be used in English ...
... The verb bara (he created) agrees with a subject with masculine grammatical gender ... Elohim also has masculine grammatical gender ... The masculine gender in Hebrew can be used for objects with no inherent gender, as well as objects with masculine natural gender ...
... Many constructed languages have natural gender systems similar to that of English ... Animate nouns can have distinct forms reflecting natural gender, and personal pronouns are selected according to natural gender ... There is no gender agreement on modifiers ...
... singular and plural pronouns in the third person are marked for grammatical gender, and the antecedent always has grammatical gender ... Thus, for both generic and non-generic antecedents, the natural gender of the antecedent, whether known or unknown, is irrelevant, as the deciding factor for the choice of a ... Some French speakers advocate the use of created gender-free pronouns, such as illes or els for ils et elles ("they (masculine) and they (feminine)") and celleux or ceulles for celles et ceux ("thos ...
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