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gender in English

From:Muke Tever <alrivera@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 6, 2000, 14:52
> From: Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...> > Subject: Re: Genders > > > English is the only language I'm fluent with that has gender built into > > it. (Well, I know some basic classical Greek, but I think others on this > > Only in pronouns, isn't it? Otherwise we don't have feminine/masculine > nouns and adjectives as in French, or feminine/masculine/neuter > nouns/attributive adjectives (someone correct me if I've screwed up) as > in German.
You might say nouns and adjectives are zero-marked for gender in English (yes, except on pronouns), but it's definitely there, even if it's only natural gender and not grammatical gender. Frex: [the girl] She's beautiful. *It's beautiful. *He's beautiful. [the pencil] It writes well. *He writes well. *She writes well. [the car] It's beautiful. ?She's beautiful. (rare) *He's beautiful. [the banana] It's yellow. *He's yellow. *She's yellow. [the puppy] She's beautiful. It's beautiful. He's beautiful. (I think an animal can take any gender if you don't know what gender it is, but if you do know it can still either get that or 'it'.) I'm reminded of someone's comments on gender in German: "Where is the turnip?" "She is on the table." "Where is the beautiful and accomplished young lady?" "It has gone to the opera." *Muke!