I know a lot of languages have some aspects that probably seem a bit strange to non-native speakers…in the case of gendered words is there a point other than “just the way its always been” that explains it a bit better?

I don’t have gendered words in my native language, and from the outside looking in I’m not sure what gendered words actually provide in terms of context? Is there more to it that I’m not quite following?

  • Lvxferre@lemmy.ml
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    11 months ago

    [Shameless comm advertisement: make sure to check !linguistics@lemmy.ml, this sort of question fits nicely there!]

    There are two main points: agreement and derivation.

    Agreement: grammatical gender gives you an easy way to keep track of which word refers to which. Consider for example the following sentence:

    • The clock fell over the glass table, and it broke.

    What does “it” refer to? It’s ambiguous, it could be either “the clock” or “the glass table” (both things are breakable). In Portuguese however the sentence is completely unambiguous due to the gender system, as the translations show:

    1. O relógio caiu sobre a mesa de vidro, e ele quebrou. // “ele” he/it = the clock
    2. O relógio caiu sobre a mesa de vidro, e ela quebrou. // “ela” she/it = the table

    It’s only one word of difference; however “ele” he/it must refer to “relógio” clock due to the gender agreement. Same deal with “ela” she/it and “mesa” table.

    Latin also shows something similar, due to the syntactically free word order. Like this:

    • puer bellam puellam amat. (boy.M.NOM pretty.F.ACC girl.F.ACC loves) = the boy loves the beautiful girl
    • puer bellus puellam amat. (boy.M.NOM pretty.M.NOM girl.F.ACC loves) = the handsome boy loves the girl

    Note how the adjective between “puer” boy and “puella” girl could theoretically refer to any of those nouns; Latin is not picky with adjective placement, as long as it’s near the noun it’s fine. However, because “puer” is a masculine word and “puella” is feminine, we know that the adjective refers to one if masculine, another if feminine. (Note: the case marks reinforce this, but they aren’t fully reliable.)

    The second aspect that I mentioned is derivation: gender gives you a quick way to create more words, without needing new roots for that. Italian examples:

    • “bambino” boy vs. “bambina” girl
    • “gatto” cat, tomcat vs. “gatta” female cat
    • “banana” banana (fruit) vs. “banano” banana plant
    • “mela” apple (fruit) vs. “melo” apple tree

    Focus on the last two lines - note how the gender system is reused to things that (from human PoV) have no sex or social gender, like trees and their fruits. This kind of extension of the derivation system is fairly common across gendered languages.


    Addressing some comments here: English does not have a grammatical gender system. It has a few words that refer to social gender and sex, but both concepts (grammatical gender and social gender) are completely distinct.

    That’s specially evident when triggering agreement in a gendered language, as English doesn’t do anything similar. Portuguese examples, again:

    • [Sentence] O Ivan é uma pessoa muito alta.
    • [Gloss, showing word gender] The.M Ivan.M is a.F person.F very tall.F
    • [Translation] Ivan is a very tall person.

    Check the adjective, “alta” tall. Even if “Ivan” refers to a man, you need to use the feminine adjective here, because it needs to agree with “pessoa” person - a feminine word. This kind of stuff happens all the time in gendered languages, but you don’t see it e.g. in English.

    • Casiraghi@feddit.it
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      11 months ago

      Thank you for this wonderful explanation and for taking the time to write it.

      That’s the kind of content that make this place so awesome.

    • wmrch@lemmy.world
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      11 months ago

      Holy smoke, thanks for taking the time to write this comment. I wasn’t aware there are practical implications of using gendered nouns. Learned something new today.

    • jpeps@lemmy.world
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      11 months ago

      Really great comment, thank you for the effort you put into this. That said, I can’t say I feel convinced by the reasoning. Are you suggesting that gender in these languages was an intentional decision to solve the problems you raise? Because as other comments point out, it seems it’s still very possible to have an ambiguous sentence making this seem like an overly confusing addition.

      Secondly in your example of gendered language assisting in derivation, surely this ends up with the same problems given that the language only represents a limited number of genders? I do not remotely know Portuguese, but how does this derivation quality help with the word for an apple seed? I presume the same logic can’t apply?

      Thanks for your time!

      • Lvxferre@lemmy.ml
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        11 months ago

        you suggesting that gender in these languages was an intentional decision to solve the problems you raise?

        No, I’m not suggesting intention or decision. Most of the time, language works a lot like a biological species: there’s no critter or speaker deciding “we shall have this feature!”, but instead the feature spreads or goes extinct depending on the role that it performs in the language, alongside other features.

        My explanation is all about that role. That is the point of grammatical gender, and it explains:

        • why it appeared independently across different languages? Clearly the gender systems in Dyirbal, in most Indo-European languages, in [most?] Afro-Asiatic languages are unrelated to each other, but why did they develop that same feature?
        • why it survives for so long in a language? For example, the gender system in Russian, Hindi and Spanish backtracks all the way back into Late Proto-Indo-European (6000? years ago).

        A pointless feature wouldn’t do it.

        I do not remotely know Portuguese, but how does this derivation quality help with the word for an apple seed?

        The fruit vs. plant example is from Italian, not Portuguese (see note*).

        It doesn’t need to help with the word for an apple seed (IT: seme di mela, lit. “seed of apple”). It’s just an extension, a “bonus” of the system; the core is like bambino/bambina, words referring to human beings, we humans tend to speak a lot about each other.

        That said, your question reminds me the noun classes of Bantu languages. Gender is just a specific type of noun class; it’s possible that some language out there would actually use a noun class derivation of their word for apple to refer to apple seeds.

        *note, on Portuguese

        Fruit trees in Portuguese get an “origin” suffix, -eira; see e.g. maçã (apple) vs. macieira (apple tree) vs. semente de maçã (apple seed). There are a few nouns where the feminine is a specific type of the masculine, like

        • ovo (egg) vs. ova (fish eggs)
        • casco (shell) vs. casca (bark, peel)
        • jarro (jar) vs. jarra (a type of jar, usually with a pointy lip)
        • barco (boat) vs. barca (barque)

        but that feature was only rarely used, and it is certainly not productive; I think that it backtracks to Latin neuter but I’m not sure. Anyway, derivation in the modern language is mostly restricted to critters and people.

      • xigoi@lemmy.sdf.org
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        11 months ago

        Languages involved naturally. Nothing is an intentional decision.

        Yes, it’s still possible to have ambiguity, just like you can have hash collisions in hash tables. But it at least sometimes helps.

    • davidgro@lemmy.world
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      11 months ago

      Thank you, Today I learned that grammatical gender can in fact have purpose. Some questions though:

      In that first example for Agreement, does this depend on the nouns in question coincidentally having different gender, or does the grammar enforce that? (Such as switching one if they would otherwise match - although that might conflict with the Derivation thing.) And can a sentence in those languages refer to 3 or more nouns? That would seem to break the disambiguation effect.

      • Lvxferre@lemmy.ml
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        11 months ago

        does this depend on the nouns in question coincidentally having different gender

        Yup - the example wouldn’t work if both nouns had the same gender. And gender is intrinsic to the noun, you can’t change it (you can change the noun though).

        That’s why, usually, languages with a productive gender system keep a comparable amount of nouns in each gender, since this maximises the odds that multiple nouns in the same sentence got different genders.

        And can a sentence in those languages refer to 3 or more nouns?

        Yup, they can.

        In both cases (same gender nouns, or 3+ nouns), the solution is typically the same as in a non-gendered language: you use the noun instead of a pronoun, or rely on context to disambiguate it.

    • Seytoux@lemmy.one
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      11 months ago

      That was a great, concise, technical but simple at the same time explanation, beautifully done. Thanks.

    • MrMobius @sh.itjust.works
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      11 months ago

      That was very informative, thank you! I learned a bit of Esperanto, and I think Zamenhof was really aware about the derivation part. It really makes learning a new language easier if words with a similar meaning share a root.

  • ttmrichter@lemmy.world
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    11 months ago

    Speaking one language that is mildly gendered (English), two that are strongly (and in the case of the second bizarrely!) gendered (French, German) and one that is almost entirely ungendered (Mandarin), I have not found any utility whatsoever in grammatical gender.

    I suspect that grammatical gender is just an ur-form of grammatical classifiers that has stuck around for non-useful amounts of time. I suspect this because one of the grammatical “gender” divisions that’s in use in many languages isn’t masculine/feminine(/neuter) but rather animate/inanimate. So I suspect that grammatical gender was a classification mechanism whose system and utility was distorted into uselessness over the thousands of years of spread and development.

    So why do we have classification mechanisms? Well, in Mandarin there’s classifier words. (In English too: “a sheet of paper”, not “a paper”, but it’s waaaaaaaaaaaaay stricter in Mandarin.) The classifiers in Mandarin, given the sheer amount of punning potential in oral language, are likely a redundant piece of information to help nail down which specific word you mean in contexts where it might be unclear. For example in a noisy environment, or if someone is speaking unclearly, “paper” (纸张[zhǐ zhāng]) might be confused with “spider” (蜘蛛 [zhī zhū]). But if I say 一只蜘蛛 [yī zhī zhī zhū]—a spider—it’s harder to confuse that with 一张纸张 [yī zhāng zhǐ zhāng]—a piece of paper.

    So I’m positing that perhaps at some point grammatical gender was used as a primitive form of classification for disambiguation that some languages just never grew out of. Which is why in German men are masculine, women are feminine, boys are masculine, and girls are neuter. It has nothing to do with actual physical gender and is just a weird, atrophied, and somewhat useless remnant of language.

    • radix@lemm.ee
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      11 months ago

      Thanks for the explanation!

      If I may, what do you mean by English being mildly gendered?

      • ttmrichter@lemmy.world
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        11 months ago

        English has gendered pronouns, for example. There’s also some gender divides in nouns: actor/actress, for example. (These are slowly being replaced, however.)

        Languages like Farsi and Mandarin and such don’t. The only difference in pronouns, in fact, with Farsi is “courteous” vs. “common”. And even that isn’t happening as much as it used to. And the only time nouns are gendered is if the item they’re talking about has an actual physical gender. Like “man” or “woman”. There are no gendered declensions of any kind, in fact.

        It’s more complicated in Chinese. In oral Chinese there’s no gendered pronouns. It’s pronounced [tā] whether you mean man, woman, or other.1 As with Farsi, however, there are no gendered nouns outside of those describing literal physically-gendered things. And unlike Farsi, not only are there no gendered declensions of any kind, there are hardly any declensions of any kind2.


        1 In written Chinese, for complicated reasons, there are three different pronouns in common usage: 他 for masculine (he), 她 for feminine (she), and 它 for everything else (it). This “modernization” was first proposed in the very late 19th century and came into its final form sometime in the 1920s. It was a deliberate attempt to make Chinese easier to translate into western languages (and since at the time the Chinese had somewhat of an inferiority complex it was also couched as making Chinese a “modern” language). (There were a couple of others added, including one for deities and one for animals, but those never caught on and are hardly ever seen in modern Chinese.)

        But they’re all pronounced the same: [tā].

        And now, full circle, Chinese is “modernizing” again. While official laws, forms, scholarly papers, regulations, etc. use that three-way split in pronouns, increasingly in commercial settings (like the world’s largest digital souq: Taobao) all pronouns are being replaced with “TA”. Yes. Latin letters. Uppercased.

        This I find completely hilarious: Chinese developed gendered pronouns (in writing only!) to soothe western tastes … only to pick up an ungendered pronoun again … to match western tastes. And before westerners have solved the problem themselves in their own languages!

        2 Chinese does not decline for number except for a tiny handful of cases you can learn completely in 30 minutes. (And even here it’s not quite ‘declension’ like that word applies in the Indo-European family of languages.) There’s no “car” vs. “cars”. They’re both 汽车. If you want to specify that you mean more than one car, you would modify it by saying “some” or “three” or whatever in front of it: 一些汽车 [yī xiē qì chē], literally “one (small number) car” or “some cars”.

        • radix@lemm.ee
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          11 months ago

          I never knew they’re using TA again, that’s so funny. Do you know how they used to write it? Why not just return to that? I’m sure written standard pronouns existed before “modernization”.

        • wispydust@sh.itjust.works
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          11 months ago

          Thanks for the very educational reply! If you have some blogs or something i’d love to hear more analyses on languages like these

      • cerement@slrpnk.net
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        11 months ago

        gender in English

        • gendered pronouns
        • familial relations – woman, daughter, husband, uncle
        • using gendered pronouns for ships and nations
        • actor/actress, policeman/policewoman
        • other leftover forms – blond/blonde
        • radix@lemm.ee
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          11 months ago

          Oh, I forgot there are ways of gendering that aren’t limited to nouns having gender like Spanish. Thanks for explaining!

      • Lockenbert@slrpnk.net
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        11 months ago

        I dont know as many languages as OP, but I can compare german to english. English is “technically” gendered, but compared to german, basically everything exept the things where it makes sense are neutral. German is complicated. Everything is gendered, and exept for some very obvious stuff (man is male, woman is female) it just is random. Shoulder is female, arm is male but hand is female again. House is neutral, wall is female, floor is male. So in comparison, english is slightly gendered and german is completly and randomly gendered.

        • radix@lemm.ee
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          11 months ago

          I guess I didn’t associate the English “man”/"woman“ with grammatical gender in the way that grammatical gender is often so arbitrary, like “wall” being female in Gernan. Thanks for the perspective.

          • amio@kbin.social
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            11 months ago

            “Man/woman” are entirely separate nouns, I don’t think they’re even as closely related as one’d think. Different pronouns aren’t the same thing, either.

            Basically, this has nothing to do with gender as a social or biological phenomenon. It is just a property of a noun that has an unintuitive name. Similarly to how English arbitrarily decides that you can’t say “swimmed” because “swim” is “not that kind of verb”, German arbitrarily divides nouns into three classes.

        • amio@kbin.social
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          11 months ago

          Is it? How? Compared to German (something is masculine, feminine or neuter), French, Spanish (masc., fem.) that “gender” is a property of a noun, that English doesn’t really have or care about.

    • Alto@kbin.social
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      11 months ago

      There are a lot of things in German that make far more sense than English (the pronunciation of ie vs ei for example), but nobody needs that many words for you or the.

      • ttmrichter@lemmy.world
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        11 months ago

        I love German’s case structure! Except that the gender system slices through what could be an elegant way of piecing sentences together in any order without ambiguity and turns it into a muddled mess that requires you to memorize the silly gender of every damned noun in the language. ☹

    • Couldbealeotard@lemmy.world
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      11 months ago

      Regarding the paper analogy,

      Paper is a material, not a discrete object. A sheet is an object, but is ambiguous until you quantify what is it a sheet of.

      You could have a sheet of paper, or metal, or pasta.

      A page would be a way to say a sheet of paper as an object.

      • ttmrichter@lemmy.world
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        11 months ago

        I’m sorry that the Chinese classify things differently from you. I’ll get right on asking them to change it to suit your thoughts. (As it so happens, the classifier 张 is, in fact, “flat objects”. Fancy that! Perhaps reading what I actually wrote instead of what you wanted me to write so you could “well akshually” me might be an advantage.)

        I’m reporting what is, not recommending.

        • Couldbealeotard@lemmy.world
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          11 months ago

          All good man,

          I was just talking about your analogy using the English language, and how it seem like a false comparison. I wasn’t commenting on the Chinese. No need to be rude.

  • fubo@lemmy.world
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    11 months ago

    What we call “grammatical gender” in Indo-European languages is a worn-down version of a noun class system. English’s is extremely worn-down; we only use gender on pronouns, whereas many other European languages use it on articles and adjectives with all nouns.

    Some other language families have much more complicated sets of noun classes. Dyirbal has four (roughly: masculine, feminine, edible, and other). There’s a language in Georgia with eight, including two dedicated to body parts. Swahili has eighteen (and both adjectives and verbs are inflected to agree with nouns).

    Meanwhile the Uralic languages (including Finnish and Hungarian) don’t have noun classes, not even gendered pronouns.

    In languages with noun classes, it’s common for the words for “man” and “woman” to belong to different noun classes. And when we say “this word has feminine gender” all we’re really saying is “this word is in the same noun class as ‘woman’.”

    • Lvxferre@lemmy.ml
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      11 months ago

      English’s is extremely worn-down; we only use gender on pronouns, whereas many other European languages use it on articles and adjectives with all nouns.

      It’s also worth noting that even those gendered pronouns in English work differently. Since they don’t have a grammatical gender system to rely on, they “hot-wire” to things outside language, such as social gender and sex.

  • intensely_human@lemm.ee
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    11 months ago

    There is no point!

    Languages evolve. They are not invented, designed, engineered by people. Human language evolved just like the human body evolved, just like the genome and the microbiome evolved.

    There’s probably more to it but the more isn’t the sort of thing that could be explained in documentation.

    What I mean by the more isn’t super clear to me. I’ll just say I didn’t fully grasp the Spanish language, which I had studied and spoken for many years, until I smoked a joint with a Swiss girl in college and we listened to some songs being sung in Spanish. All of a sudden I realized there are things you can express in Spanish that you can’t in English.

    That may or may not have to do with it being a gendered language; I don’t know. I don’t even know what it is that I saw. I just realized there was some parallel thread running beside the string of words, that I don’t have in English. That you can’t do in English.

    • I'm back on my BS 🤪@lemmy.world
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      i don’t know if it’s just me, but someone getting told off in Spanish is so much harsher than in English. like, it’s another level. someone can tell me off in English, and it’ll roll right off of my back. but, if some one tells me off in Spanish, it hits my heart.

      Residente has a song (La Càtedra) that is BRUTAL in Spanish. when i try to tell my English-speaking friends the translation, it doesn’t hit any where near as hard.

  • Phen@lemmy.eco.br
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    11 months ago

    There’s no point, it’s just how the language developed. It can be useful but it can also be a pain. In my language the phrase “the teacher is late” has two gendered words (teacher and late), so if I say that to you, you will also know the teacher’s gender based on which gender I use. At the same time a writer may run into trouble trying to keep a plot twist under wraps in their story because they can’t write anything without revealing the subject’s gender.

  • cerement@slrpnk.net
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    11 months ago

    gendered words, plural agreement, conjugations, declensions were all forms of “parity checking” for spoken languages – ways to make sure you were accurately hearing what had been spoken

    as writing systems advanced, languages started to drop some of these forms when the written word was considered to be an “accurate” representation – ex. you can see this happening in the transition from Old English → Middle English → Modern English

    • CapitalismsRefugee@lemmy.world
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      11 months ago

      Oh this is fascinating! An example of the inverse could be maybe that Old/Older English didn’t have spelling rules so much as habits?

      • cerement@slrpnk.net
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        11 months ago
        • up until the printing press, spelling was more a matter of convention (“we always wrote it this way”) since it was relegated to clergy and scholars
        • the advent of the printing press saw a lot of creativity with spelling – adjusting the spelling was an easy way to justify lines of text on a page (much easier than trying to make micro-adjustments of word- and letter-spacing)
        • it was the introduction of dictionaries that started to “stabilize” spelling – and that was only because people (especially Johnson and Webster) started to get sick and tired of the lack of standards
  • tunetardis@lemmy.ca
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    11 months ago

    Once upon a time, English had gendered words just like many other European languages. According to my dad (a retired linguist), the Norman invaders, being non-native speakers, learned a kind of pidgin English with a much simplified grammar they could handle. This eventually developed into a creole which everyone started to speak.

  • ℕ𝕖𝕞𝕠@midwest.social
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    11 months ago

    It can help with disambiguation of pronouns. Eg. if I’m talking about a city (ciudad, female) and state (estado, male) you can tell which one I mean because the pronoun “it”, neutral in English, has both male (lo) and female (la) forms in Spanish.

    It also makes a language more poetic, IMPO.

  • Scrof@sopuli.xyz
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    Both my native language (Russian) and the one I use the most (Hebrew) have gendered words. The first one has a “middle” neutral gender, and the latter one even has a full set of gendered pronouns, every pronoun except for “I” has a goddamn gender. This shit is endlessly confusing and makes no practical sense except to annoy people using these languages.

    That’s one of the reasons why I love English so much, English is nice.

    • Lvxferre@lemmy.ml
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      11 months ago

      That’s one of the reasons why I love English so much, English is nice.

      English is morphologically nice but syntactically painful:

      • Adjectives must follow a very specific order unless you don’t mind sounding like a maniac.
      • Questions require word order inversion, from SVO to VSO. That would be fine… except that most verbs don’t allow such inversion, so you need to spawn a “do”, let it steal the conjugation from the other verb, and then invert the “do” instead.
      • Articles are a convoluted mess in every language using them, full of arbitrary cases. Including English.
      • Prepositions are even worse. And English spams them since the only surviving noun case is the genitive/possessive. Oh wait there’s a genitive preposition too! (“of”)

      And IMO the interesting part is that the syntactical painfulness - let’s call it complexity - is partially caused by the morphological lack of complexity. Human language requires a certain amount of complexity; if you remove it from the words themselves it’ll end in how the words interact with each other.

    • KairuByte@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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      English is nice.

      English hates you. And me. It just hates. If you think it’s being nice, that’s because it’s trying to lull you into a false sense of security.

      • I'm back on my BS 🤪@lemmy.world
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        11 months ago

        Though I was born and raised in the US, my first language was Spanish. All I ever knew my entire childhood was that at home we spoke Spanish. I learned English via tv, books, and then school. Fast forward to now, I recently came back from a 2.5 week trip to Brazil. I loved Brazil, the Portuguese language, and the people in Brazil. Still, when I got to the airport in the US and heard the PA say something in English, it felt so calm. English is a calm language to me. I hadn’t realized it until that moment.

      • radix@lemm.ee
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        11 months ago

        Hey, at least “they” for a group of people doesn’t imply the genders of each person in that group (I’m thinking of Spanish ellos/ellas).

    • SokathHisEyesOpen@lemmy.ml
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      11 months ago

      This shit is endlessly confusing and makes no practical sense

      Identifying the gender of the subject has some practicality.

  • fiat_lux@kbin.social
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    11 months ago

    It creates an additional connection between the parts of speech you intend to be conceptually linked.

    Eg. “He kicked the ball at the park - it was huge!” Was the ball huge or the park? If ‘ball’ and ‘park’ have different genders in your language, then it’s easier to know immediately what ‘it’ represents.

    This allows for greater freedom to majorly rearrange a sentence and still be understood. It also helps poetry and LLMs, incidentally, when you can just throw words around and people know which adjective goes with which noun, etc. Not that Chinese poetry ever cared much about that, but that’s a different topic.

    Why is it related to gender? I guess they just picked something to relate the new system to the people around them, like picking colours to represent emotions. It’s a clunky 3 category system, but if you’re creating enough ambiguity in your sentences that 3 additional categories of differentiation can’t help with… well. Then you have other conjugation systems you can implement. Looking at you, Finnish. Or you can go the English route and get really strict about your word order.

      • fiat_lux@kbin.social
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        11 months ago

        Then you still have the same issue, but it occurs as maybe a 1/3 chance (where 3 is the genders for Latin, other systems have more/less) instead of as a 100% chance in languages that assign connections based only on word order.

        It’s obviously not a perfect solution, but it does significantly reduce ambiguity in phrase construction for languages which use it. And it’s (often) of sufficiently limited complexity that it doesn’t cause too much cognitive overload for most people during a conversation.

  • mvirts@lemmy.world
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    11 months ago

    I’m not fluent in any gendered languages, but afaict in many situations pronouns are removed in favor of a gendered suffix, shortening phrases.

    • Dieguito 🦝@feddit.it
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      11 months ago

      If those languages allow for zero subject pronouns (like Spanish or Italian) and the omitted noun is actually the subject this may be the case, but I speak Italian and can not think of a real world sentence where this happens because when we put emphasis on an element we tend to use a (gendered) pronoun or a noun to disambiguate anyway.

      While distinguishing gender may be sensitive for animate (although with big problems for being inclusive anyway) it makes really no sense for inanimate entities. In Italian they are assigned randomly to either gender, even loanwords can get either (usually masculine but not always). It’s a matter of style, a legacy of the past, but natural languages tend to have these “artistic” features that only embellish them without any real world advantage, violating the principle of linguistic economy.

      • mvirts@lemmy.world
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        11 months ago

        That makes sense, as a native English speaker I still find it hard to understand how the gendering of non-pronouns plays out in real conversation

      • mvirts@lemmy.world
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        11 months ago

        Imo English is mostly devoid of gendered nouns. Things like waiter and waitress, actor and actress, postman and post woman are still around but most nouns are not gendered. Gender is still considered essential for English pronouns, but it’s easy to do without.

  • Squibbles@lemmy.ca
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    11 months ago

    This doesn’t really answer your question but it reminded me of the following that I think is somewhat relevant.

    I was listening to a podcast several years ago that was discussing a study that was done about the effects of gendered words in various languages. It was rather interesting. They did things like showed people a picture of a bridge and asked them to describe it. In languages that used a masculine gender for ‘bridge’ it was generally described in ways that highlighted features such as strength, solidness, etc. And for languages that used a feminine gender it tended to be described more artistically, talking about it’s grace or curves etc. If I remember correctly, they even studied people fluent in both languages and the answers would vary along those same lines depending which language they were asked/responded in.

  • Chickenstalker@lemmy.world
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    11 months ago

    Learn Indonesian/Malay. They are the most logical and uncluttered language around. No bullshit grammar and spelling rules.

  • Call me Lenny/Leni@lemm.ee
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    11 months ago

    Long ago, and I mean very, very long ago, in all cultures, when you named a child, the name would be derived from the language, something still common in the main Asian languages. Of course, when you have a name system, you need to separate names by gender, so they would separate their dictionary by gender. Over time, however, names became separate from words (so we got people named, for example, “Johnny Smith” instead of “Cloud Bridge”) and the gendered rule just stuck around (furthermore it explains why Western cultures are accustomed to naming kids after relatives, because we no longer have the whole baby name book at the top of our heads because it’s separate from the dictionary). This means, no, it won’t ruin the language ecosystem to simply remove the gendered rule.