The masculine gender

??   Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:09 pm GMT
I was wondering if it is a general trend for languages that have gender and case, that the masculine gender is stronger in terms of inflection. My native language is English, so obviously irrelavant, but I also speak German. In German the masculine gender is more affected by case and its accompanying inflections because in nouns only the masculine gender inflects for the accusative case. Feminine and neuter do inflect to the same extent for dative and genitive. But I wonder about other languages, especially those with more cases. Does the masculine noun still tend to undergo more changes? And if so, is this a sexist thing? lol
Cid   Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:23 pm GMT
<<In German the masculine gender is more affected by case and its accompanying inflections because in nouns only the masculine gender inflects for the accusative case. Feminine and neuter do inflect to the same extent for dative and genitive.>>

In modern German, yes, but not in old German. In older forms of German, and Proto-Germanic, feminine weak case was declined as the masculine; and neuter was almost as much, lacking only distinction in the accusative.

Looking at modern German, I can see your reasoning for trend towards masculine, but this is not truly so. This is a case of appearances being misleading.
?!?   Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:09 am GMT
Q. << In German the masculine gender is more affected by case >>
A. <<This is a case of appearances being misleading.>>

In Swedish adjectives have specific declensions for the masculine gender:

. Den stora kvinnan (the tall woman), feminine
. Det stora huset (the large house), neuter
. Det stora gitarren (the big guitar), "common", i.e. non-neuter-other-than-masc.-or-fem.
. Den store mannen (the big man), masculine.

(BTW there are actually four genders in Swedish)
??   Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:35 am GMT
I suppose I forgot about the fact that the masculine and neuter indefinite articles in the nominitive case in German have the same form, so that you cannot tell which of these two genders it is unless there is an adjective to indicate it.
AL   Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:36 pm GMT
Don't worry about the masculine gender. Worry that the discredited Tom and the discredited moderators enjoy picking on certain posters here and deleting their work. They obviously can't do it to everyone. I was one of their victims and their actions hurt me very badly. You should realize that these discredited people have blood on their hands.
no noun gender   Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:12 pm GMT
Which indo-european languages haven't got any noun gender? As far as know, besides English, Armenian and Persian. Do you know any other language of the same group?
Caspian   Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:56 am GMT
Afrikaans is an Indo-European language without grammatical genders. There's one word for the (die) and one for a ('n).
bohemien   Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:36 pm GMT
Armenian has no grammatical gender but it preserves the main Indo-European cases, Persian has no grammatical gender and it has lost cases but verbs are conjugated unlike English.
Sauna   Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:52 pm GMT
"Q. << In German the masculine gender is more affected by case >>
A. <<This is a case of appearances being misleading.>>

In Swedish adjectives have specific declensions for the masculine gender:

. Den stora kvinnan (the tall woman), feminine
. Det stora huset (the large house), neuter
. Det stora gitarren (the big guitar), "common", i.e. non-neuter-other-than-masc.-or-fem.
. Den store mannen (the big man), masculine.

(BTW there are actually four genders in Swedish)"

This is wrong!

There are TWO genders in Swedish: Common and neuter.
Den stora kvinnan Common
Det stora huset Neuter
Den (not det) stora gitarren Common
Den storA mannen Common
(You could say Den storE mannen but that would sound very formal)
12345   Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:36 pm GMT
In Dutch it can be difficult to know whether a word is masculine or feminine as the differences are really small in terms of grammar.
We have three genders with these articles
masculine - de
feminine - de
neuter - het

De grote man - The big/tall man
De grote vrouw - The big/tall woman
Het grote kind - The big/tall child

In modern Dutch the only way to actually SEE in a text whether a word is feminine or masculine is by making it like this:
De man doet zijn werk goed (The man does his job well)
De vrouw doet haar werk goed (The woman does her job well)

De politie doet haar werk goed. Haar, so politie (police) is feminine. But if you really want to know it, use a dictionary. Masculine and feminine are becoming one common gender here.

In the past when the declensions were still used it was easier to find out whether a word was feminine or masculine as it worked for a big part the same as in German.

Singular
Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative de grote man de grote vrouw het grote/groot kind
Genitive des groten mans der grote vrouw des groten kinds
Dative den groten manne der grote vrouwe den groten kinde
Accusative den groten man de grote vrouw het grote/groot kind
Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative de grote mannen de grote vrouwen de grote kinderen
Genitive der grote mannen der grote vrouwen der grote kinderen
Dative den groten mannen den/der grote vrouwen den groten kinderen
Accusative de grote mannen de grote vrouwen de grote kinderen
jabba   Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:27 am GMT
Oh yes.
dog   Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:51 am GMT
<<I was wondering if it is a general trend for languages that have gender and case, that the masculine gender is stronger in terms of inflection.>>

It's true in Russian at least for adjectives.

Adjective:

masculine endings - femenine ending (general case)
nominative -ый - ая
accusative - ый (inanimate) ого (animate) - ую (inanimate and animate)
genetive - ого - ой
dative - ому - ой
instrumental - ым - ой
locative - ом - ой

as you can see, the feminine form is the same for the last 4 where as the masculine one is different each time. The plural forms are the same. Nouns show about the same level of complexity for both genders.
blanche   Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:30 pm GMT
Dutch is an easy language. It's just a bit harder than English grammatically
the pronunciation is another story
12345   Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:32 am GMT
True, but I made the comparison with old Dutch and current Dutch.

You see feminine and masculine are growing together to one common gender. Nowadays there are just a few cases where you need to know the gender of a word.

Modern Dutch:
Het huis van de grote man - (The house of the big man)

Old Dutch:
Het huis des groten mans.
Translates perfectly into German
Das Haus des gro├čen Mannes.
CommonAswhole   Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:38 am GMT
Germanic declensions remain easy nonetheless.