Genders in conlangs
|From:||Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, November 1, 2003, 15:16|
On Fri, 31 Oct 2003 10:22:18 -0700,
Muke Tever <hotblack@...> wrote:
> On Fri, 31 Oct 2003 17:20:19 +0100, Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
> > Surely there must have been _some_ grounds for the gender assignments,
> > originally, no matter who random they may look after millennia of
> > semantic, societal and technological change.
> Gender in Kirumb is assigned purely for morphological reasons: whatever
> kind of stem-formant a substantive is made from determines whether a word
> is m./f./neut., regardless of the meaning of the root; e.g. words in
> nomen-actionis <-irí> are all f., words in nomen-agentis <-os> are m., etc.
> (However by the time of Atlantic Kirumb grammatical gender has ceased to
> be of relevance.)
> How do others with conlangs with the familiar masc-fem-neut gender system
> assign gender to words?
In Proto-Q, there are four genders: masculine, feminine, common and
Of the three animate genders (masc., fem., common), the first two
are used, as in English, for entities with the actual gender.
Otherwise, common gender is used. Example:
chvana (common) `dog'
chvano (masc.) `male dog'
chvane (fem.) `female dog, bitch'
Inanimate objects are always, well, inanimate. There are no
arbitrary gender classifications that are not justified by semantics,
with a few exceptions motivated by mythology (e.g., the sky is male
and the earth is female).
The morphology of the genders: the agentive stems of animate nouns
end in -o if masculine, -e if feminine, -a if common. These are
productive derivations, as can be seen in the example above.
In the dual and plural, these genders are not distinguished;
the dual agentive stem ends in -u, the plural in -i.
The objective stems are formed by adding -m to the agentive stems.
Inanimate nouns have no agentive stem, and the objective stem ends
in a consonant. Dual is marked by -um and plural by -im.
(Agentive stems and objective stems are forms that underlie the
case forms. Inanimate nouns have a defective case paradigm
with only those cases formed from the objective stem.)