Should you put gender on grammar? They works just fine for he or she in most pronoun cases. However, there are times when you are required to distinguish a person by their gender. Take a look at a sideways view on grammatical grammar and the modern English language. While you’re at it, find out how this writer has managed to make gendered English yet another mass casualty of the Black Plaque.
About Grammatical Gender
The whole of grammatical gender involves a way of classifying nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, and articles in a language. Nouns can be divided into masculine, feminine, neuter, animate, and inanimate. The gender part is where we assign a noun with biological sex.
We have gender languages but several languages do not have gender including:
- Native American languages
These genderless languages make life a lot easier for the language learner. Instead of changing the endings of words or the pronouns based on whether a noun is a “male” or a “female” you are able to just get on with it.
Mark Twain who was struggling with Germanic grammatical gender had his own theory. Twain is quoted as saying, “A person’s mouth, neck, bosom, elbows, fingers, nails, feet, and body are of the male sex, and his head is male or neuter according to the word selected to signify it, and not according to the sex of the individual who wears it! A person’s nose, lips, shoulders, breast, hands, and toes are of the female sex; and his hair, ears, eyes, chin, legs, knees, heart, and conscience haven’t any sex at all…”
Is English a Gendered Language
Here’s a tricky question. Is English considered a gendered language? Not anymore. The use of gendered nouns in English stopped after the Black Death in the Late Middle Ages. So now we don’t change our dogs, worlds, or hats to reflect the gender of the speaker. Maybe it was too much to keep trying to change all those nouns when you’re busy trying to stay alive by avoiding the airborne plague bacteria.
“Just give me a doctor! Any doctor male, female, I don’t have a pronounced preference!”
Modern English and Gender
Today we do have different words that mean only masculine or feminine words, such as woman or prince. And we often use gendered pronouns, aka he, she, her, and him, to distinguish nouns when not necessarily necessary. You do see a lot more of they when a he or she could be applicable.
- e/ey, he per, she, sie, they, ve, zie
- em, him, per, her, sir, them, ver, zim
- eir, his, pers, her, hir, their, vis, zir
- eirs, his, pers, hers, hirs, theirs, vers, zirs
- eirself, himself, perself, herself, hirself, themself, verself, zirself
Meanwhile, Sweden has officially gone gender-neutral. Once again the Scandis beat us to it. They’ve just gone neutral across the board, making it easier to allow individuals to shine as individuals and not based on gender.
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“Welcome. I’m the Whispering Wordsmith of the Woods, An Old Man Willow type cunning the lit forest, Disrupting textbookish writers with grammar snaps and cracks.” As a professional web content writer for small-to-medium businesses, Miranda B understands how to effectively balance technical jargon and personal brand messaging. Her content is sticky, evergreen when expected to be, and always creative. Keep ’em coming back for more, that’s Miranda’s motto!