Gender

Lyle E. & Christine A. Buettner buettner at mcleodusa.net
Wed May 8 20:27:11 EDT 2002


Robert,

In addition to what Carl has said, you may want to look at this book (albeit
old).
Brugmann, Karl. _The Nature and Origin of the Noun Genders in the
Indo-European Languages_. New York : Scribner, 1897.

Lyle E. Buettner

----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu>
To: "Biblical Greek" <b-greek at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Cc: "Biblical Greek" <b-greek at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, May 08, 2002 5:27 AM
Subject: [b-greek] Re: Gender


> At 10:56 PM -0400 5/7/02, Robert Dyson wrote:
> >I am a new student of Koine Greek.  I am having problems
> >understanding the gender. I have been told that masculine does not
> >mean male or feminine does not mean female.
> >
> >Please explain.
> >
> >*Robert Dyson [New subscribers please note that B-Greek protocol
> >requires a full-name signature to be appended to messages sent
> >to the list.]
>
> You might almost do better to think of "masculine," "feminine" and
"neuter"
> genders in Greek as "A," "B," and "C" genders--if the adjectives
> "masculine," "feminine" and "neuter" are going to confuse you. Gender is
> not a matter of biology or cultural roles but rather of grammatical
> agreement: "masculine" nouns require "masculine" forms of the article and
> of adjectives and have to be represented (normally) by masculine
> pronouns--and similarly "feminine" and "neuter" nouns reqire "feminine"
and
> "neuter" forms respectively.
>
> While masculine and feminine human persons and their names are almost
> always distinctly in the "masculine" and "feminine" gender, yet there are
> striking exceptions: TEKNON and PAIDION are neuter nouns, each meaning
> "child," KORASION is a noun for "little girl" in the Greek NT, and it too
> is neuter.
>
> But there are far more nouns in Greek that don't refer to male or female
> human persons at all--and they all fall into one of the three gender
> categories and require adjectives, articles, and pronouns referring to
them
> to be in their own appropriate gender. QALASSA ("sea") is feminine, while
> PONTOS (also meaning "sea") is masculine: that doesnt mean that THE SEA
was
> thought of by the Greeks either as a male or as a female.
>
> So: when nouns and names refer to human persons (or animals) they do tend
> to take the gender corresponding to the sexual gender of the person (or
> animal)--but they don't always do that without exception, and nouns and
> names referring to inanimate things do all have masculine, feminine, or
> neuter gender--as the case may be--but should NOT be thought of as "male,"
> "female," or "sexless."
> --
>
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
> Most months:: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
> cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com
> WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/
>
> ---
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