Senyecan nouns (for Doug Dee)
|Date:||Wednesday, October 27, 2004, 0:08|
--- In email@example.com, Doug Dee <AmateurLinguist@A...> wrote:
>A remark on terminology: I think linguists in general would say that
>your six "classes/declensions" _are_ "genders" by the usual
>definition of gender. ("Genders are classes of nouns reflected in
>the behavior of associated words" according to Charles Hockett as
>quoted by Greville Corbett in his book _Gender_). "Inanimate" nouns
>would then fall into 2 of these genders (the -o and -a genders)
>and "animate" nouns into the rest. So, "animate" and "inanimate"
>wouldn't be genders, but sets of genders.
>Is there a reason you don't describe it that way?
I didn't know that was a use of the word. All my linguistic life
I've been calling the inflection of nouns "declensions." 5
declensions in Latin, 3 in Greek. While studying Swahili, I became
familiar with the use of the word "class" to distinguish groups of
nouns, although they are not inflected: the KI VI class, the M MI
class, the M WA class, etc. I checked my own linguistic "bible,"
David Crystal's "A Dictionary of Linguistics and
Phonetics." "Gender: a grammatical category used for the analysis of
word-classes displaying...contrasts." "Word-classes can be
established, by analysing...and grouping words into classes on the
basis of formal similarities (e.g., their inflections...)."
Mr. Hockett used the phrase "behavior of associated words." If I'm
not mistaken, he is referring to the use of words other than the noun
itself to determine gender, e.g., the definite article. In my
conlang associated words are not necessary to see (or hear) the
similarity between certain words. The similarity among certain nouns
is inherent in the noun itself.
I thank you for your response. It has led me to give more thought to
this aspect of my conlang.