English Grammar: Nouns
Video: Gender of Nouns
THE GENDER IN COMMON NOUNS DISTINGUISHED BY A
WORD SIGNIFICANT OF SEX.
| he-ass (jack-ass)
DISTINCTION OF SEX INDICATED BY
DISTINCT 'WORDS :-
(Where a common form exists, it is supplied.)
bullock, ox, steer
monk, friar 7
hog, swine, pig
foal (also colt)
l The masc. is here formed from the fem.; the suffix groom,
0. E. guma, meaning " man," i.e. " the bride's man."
2 Only in these two words is the fem. form used as common. So
in compounds, eider-duck, wild-duck; solan-goose. Gander and
goose are not strictly distinct words, the masculine being
formed from the feminine.
3 Shortened from grandfather, grandmother.
4 Lass, probably a contraction of lad-ess.
5 Lady, etymologically feminine of lord, by inflexion.
6 Woman, i.e. wife-man (Germ. weib).
7 Friar, i.e. brother.
8 Nephew, niece, from Lat. nepos, neptis, through the French.
9 Only used in speaking of the parentage of animals.
10 Wizard: 0. E. wisa, a wise man: witch, a sorceress.
Note. A few foreign masculines and feminines, occasionally
used in English, may be added: beau, belle; monsieur,
Common objects without life are often personified, and
the Nouns denoting them are then treated as masculine or as
feminine. Thus the Sun is usually spoken of as he; and the Moon
(also a ship or a balloon) as she; while the names of the
planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter) are masculine or
feminine according to their sex in mythology.
Moreover in poetry and rhetoric many other inanimate
things and qualities are personified and treated either as
masculine or as feminine. Thus in Collins's " Ode on the
Passions," Fear, Anger, Despair, are masculine; and Hope,
Melancholy, Cheerfulness, feminine. So Heaven, Time, Death,
Summer, Winter, Autumn, are often masculine; and Spring, Poetry,
Sculpture, Astronomy, Art, Nature, feminine.
Note. 1. This usage gives English an advantage over most other
languages in the poetical and rhetorical style: for when nouns
naturally neuter are converted into masculine or feminine, the
personification is more distinctly marked.
" A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying glory smiles
O'er the fair times, when many a subject land
Looked to the winged Lion's marble piles
Where Venice sat in state, throned on HER hundred isles."
(Childe Harold, Iv.)
" Freedom, driven from every spot on the Continent, has sought
an asylum in a country which she always chose for her favourite
abode; but the is pursued even here and threatened with
destruction." (Robert Hall.)
Note. 2. In the earliest form of English, as in Latin, Greek,
French, &c., the names of many things without life are
masculine or feminine; as, sunne (sun), fem.', mona, (moon),
masc.; tunge (tongue), fem. These artificial genders would
probably have remained in force till now, had it not been for
the influence of the Norman Conquest; which gave so violent a
shock to the language as to obliterate many of its
Gender by sex.
Nouns-gender Nouns-number Nouns-gender-sex
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