GENDER

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GENDER

Post  Vincent Law on Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:51 pm


English Grammar: Nouns Gender

There are two genders properly so called: Masculine and Feminine. The distinction of male and female in nature is called sex. The distinction between Masculine and Feminine in words is called Gender.

Note. The word Gender comes from the Latin word genus, generis, a sort or kind.

The English language, unlike most others, applies the distinction of Masculine and Feminine only to the names of persons and animals: man, woman; boy, girl; lion, lioness. Nouns which denote things without animal life are said to be Neuter or of Neuter Gender, from the Latin word neuter, neither (i.e, neither masculine nor feminine) : iron, stone, river. The only exception to this rule is when inanimate things are represented as persons.

Note. Collective Nouns are Neuter though denoting collections of male or female objects: army, committee, sisterhood.

When the same name is used for male and female, it is said to be Common or of Common Gender : bird, fish, parent, sovereign, friend. There are three ways of indicating difference of Gender in Nouns:-

1. By inflexion.*
2. By using a word indicative of sex.
3. By distinct words.

* INFLEXION [Latin, inflecto, flexi, flexum, to bend or change] means some addition to, or change in, a word to denote a modification of meaning. The inflexional changes of words are explained in connexion with their classification

NOTES. -The ending -ess comes through the French from the Latin ending -ix. (See below, 2.)
1 Duchess is from Fr. duchesse.
2 Marchioness from late Latin marchio, marchionissa.
3 Sempstress (seamstress) and songstress, see below, No. 2 '3).

Note. Many feminine forms besides the above are occasionally to be met with, especially in our older authors: victoress, or victress (Spenser, Shakspeare, Jonson) offendress (Shakspeare) tyranness (Akenside). But the present tendency of the language is to reduce the number of such words by using the masculine form as common, as in the case of author, poet, elector (except when used as a sovereign title). In the case of official titles the feminine form is carefully preserved. Governor = ruler is common : governess == instructress.

2. A few isolated instances of other feminine endings occur:-

(1.) -trix, in a few Nouns taken directly from the Latin: as,-

Masculine
administrator
executor
testator

Feminine
administratrix
executrix
testatrix

(2.) -en, an old feminine suffix of which only one pure English example remains : vix-en (0. E. fixen ; Germ. fuchsin), she-fox; hence, a spiteful woman.

To this head belong also-

Masculine
hero
landgrave
margrave
comedian

Feminine
heroine (Greek)
landgravine (German)
margravine (German)
comedienne (French)

Note. Land-gravine, Mar-gravine: German -grafin. The suffixes -en, -in, -ine, are Identical in origin.

(3.) -ster, an old English ending, of which only one example is now in use as feminine : spin-ster-(lit.she that spins; viz. with the spinning-wheel); an unmarried woman. Also song-ster was originally feminine, so that song-str-ess has two feminine endings. In like manner semp-str-ess from the verb seam, has two feminine endings.

Note. But (the termination -ster came to be used as a masculine. This appears in such old words as brewster, huckster, maltster, tapster.

(4.) -a in a few Romance words:-

Masculine
don
infant
signor

Feminine
donna (Italian)
infanta(Spanish)
signora (Italian)

So- sultan sultana

Note. The Romance languages are those spoken in the countries which were once provinces of the Roman Empire, and are derived from Latin.

http://www.clarkscript.com/english-grammar/nouns-gender.html


Last edited by Vincent Law on Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: GENDER

Post  Vincent Law on Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:00 pm

Definition: A grammatical category in which a noun, pronoun, article and adjective is masculine, feminine or neuter. Genders in English are extremely simple, and in any case the gender of a noun only affects its pronoun and possessive adjective.

For example:

"Mary is a doctor. She is a doctor."
"Peter is a doctor. He is a doctor."


In nouns
In general there is no distinction between masculine, feminine and neuter in English nouns. However, gender is sometimes shown by different forms or different words.

Different words:
Masculine
- man
- father
- uncle
- boy
- husband


Feminine
- woman
- mother
- aunt
- girl
- wife


Different forms:
Masculine
- actor
- prince
- hero
- waiter
- widower

Feminine
- actress
- princess
- heroine
- waitress
- widow

Some nouns can be used for either a masculine or a feminine subject:

- cousin
- teenager
- teacher
- doctor
- cook
- student
- parent
- friend
- relation
- colleague
- partner
- leader


For example:

"Arthur is my teacher. He is my teacher."
"Jane is my teacher. She is my teacher."


It is possible to make the distinction by adding the words "male" or "female".

For example:
a male teacher, a female teacher, etc.

http://www.englishlanguageguide.com/english/grammar/gender.asp
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Re: GENDER

Post  Vincent Law on Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:06 pm



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Re: GENDER

Post  Vincent Law on Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:47 am

The English language does not have grammatical gender. Unlike many languages, such as French, English does not have a noun class system that requires various sentence elements to agree with a noun depending on which class the noun is in.

However, gender does play an important role in the English language. While masculine pronouns (and sometimes nouns as well) have historically been used to refer to mixed-gender groups or to an individual whose gender is not specified, the acceptability of this trend has been challenged in recent decades. Shaped by the passage of time and the influence of various philosophies, the English language--and gender usage within the English language--continues to change.


Grammatical Gender

When you hear about "gender" in a particular language, the reference is often to grammatical gender. In a noun system that has grammatical gender, there are two or three noun classes (each with particular features). Often, in a grammatical gender system, nouns that correspond to male animals and people fall under one category (which is appropriately labeled "masculine nouns"). Nouns corresponding to female people and animals fall under another category ("feminine nouns"). Other nouns that are not related to the item's actual gender (such as a table or a tree) may fall under either of these categories, or they may fall into a third category, "neuter nouns." In a language with grammatical gender, the nouns must be in gender agreement with other parts of speech in the sentence. For example, French has grammatical gender. When a French masculine noun is used in a sentence, the adjectives used to describe it must also be masculine adjectives.

English Nouns

English nouns do not have grammatical gender. Different nouns may be used to refer to male and female persons or animals (for example, actor refers to a male while actress refers to a female of the same profession). However, these nouns have no grammatical implications. For example, in English you could refer to an excellent actor or an excellent actress. In both cases, the adjective excellent would have the same form, because the nouns actor and actress, though referring to a male and a female, are not in separate grammatical gender classes.

Gender in English

Although English does not have true grammatical gender, the actual sex of an animal or person influences which pronoun is used to replace that noun in the third person singular. For example, a noun that refers to a male is replaced by the pronoun he or him. A noun referring to a female is replaced by she or her. A noun that refers to something that is not gender-specific is replaced by the pronoun it. When third-person nouns become plural, they are always replaced by the pronoun they; this pronoun stays the same regardless of whether the items being referred to are feminine, masculine or neither.

Debate

Historically in the English language, a handful of masculine nouns and pronouns have been used to refer to mixed groups that contain both men and women, or to an individual whose gender is not specified. For example, an instruction booklet on how to care for a baby might say, "If your baby is hungry, feed him." In this case, the masculine gender is simply selected as a default, because it would sound awkward to say, "If your baby is hungry, feed him or her." However, due to the rise of feminism and the general push toward gender equality in all realms (including that of spoken and written language), many people no longer consider it appropriate to refer to a group or to a non-gender-specified individual using solely masculine nouns or pronouns.

Recommendations

When speaking and writing the English language, how should you approach the gender issue? First, do not be exclusive to one gender when it is not necessary. When addressing a mixed-gender group, it is always appropriate to address them inclusively; for example, brothers and sisters, rather than simply brothers, and ladies and gentlemen, rather than just gentlemen. It is respectful to always acknowledge everyone to whom you are speaking.

When you are writing, and must refer to an individual whose gender is unknown, you have several choices. You can go with the traditional singular masculine pronoun. This is still considered grammatically correct (although many people consider this sexist and might be offended by your speech and writing). Alternatively, you can insert the words he or she in place of he. Finally, it is becoming more widely accepted, particularly in casual usage, to use the plural third person pronouns they and them to refer to an individual whose gender is unspecified.

http://www.ehow.com/about_5448728_gender-english-learning.html








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