[B-Greek] Neuter Gender strips Personality, or not?

Michael Aubrey mga318 at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 17 14:52:05 EDT 2009

Gender, masculine, feminine, or neuter, never has anything to do with person-hood. That's a semantic property of the word itself. Grammatical Genders are Noun Classes. Some Bantu languages have as many as 20 Noun Classes. This is not to say that gender is completely idiosycratic (though its popular for some to make that claim). The problem is that the labels, Masculine, Feminine, and Neuter, were applied to an already existing classifier system. We'd probably be in better shape had they labeled the system using numbers instead of words like "masculine." And then we wouldn't have people who want to make silly theological claims.

Gender is one of two ways that human languages categorize the world. The other is by separate classifier words. Genders systems are always inflectional, while Classifier systems use separate words in the noun phrase.

"Gender systems involve a small, fixed number f classes usually between 2 and 20. In classifier systems Dixon says that 20 is typically the lower limit, whith over 100 distinct classifiers reported in some langauges (e.g. Cambodian, ietnamese, Tzeltal). Moreover, since gender is an inflectional category, the number of classes is relatively stable over time. However, classifiers are independent words and new ones can be adopted into the system fairly readily."

Paul Kroeger, _Analyzing Grammar: An Introduction_ (Cambridge: University Press, 2005), 133; citing R. M. W Dixon, "Noun Classes and Noun Classification in Typological Perspective" in _Noun Classes and Categorization: Proceedings of a Symposium on Categorization and Noun Classification, Eugune Oregon, October, 1983_ (Amsterdam and Philiadelphia: John Benjamins, 1986), 105-112.

Here's the Dyirbal Gender Class (and Australian language):

Class I: human males, atmospheric phenomena (e.g. rainbows, storms, the moon), kangaroos, possums, bats; most kinds of snakes, all fish, hawk-like birds.
Class II: human females, sun & stars, anything related to fire & water, dogs, most weapons.
Class III: edible fruits and the trees that bear them
Class IV: body parts, meat, bees & honey, most trees, grass, mud, stones, etc.

Yes, this system says something about how Dyirbal categorize the world, but it would be wiser to no make assumptions on the mere basis of gender labels. Those are based on little more than the fact that one class has males in it and another class has females in it. And as far as I know, there hasn't been any comprehensive study of Greek Gender/Noun Classes and what semantic correlations can be drawn.

But it would make a good thesis topic for someone...


Isn’t it true that the most elementary thing about any Greek NEUTER
noun is that “IT” means nothing regarding the concepts of “Person”, &
male/female what-evers?

Grammatically & therefore ‘naturally’, ALL pneuma are from the Tribe
of Pneuma-its.

Some genderly-challenged pneuma-its, really are purist-its -- as
revealed when they are covered up -- in other-words (i.e. context).

Speaking of “elementary”:
- THEOS is a neuter-gender Pneuma-IT (Jn.4:24)
- (Masculine) Angels are neuter-gender, “publicly working”, Pneuma-ITS
- Demons are neuter-gender, evil-working, Pneuma-ITS (G4151,45x)
- Demons are double-neuter-gender, evil-working, Daimonion-ITS (G1140,60x).

You also know about these neuter nouns.
-G1025(8x) βρέφος =infant
-G1133(1x) γυναικάριον =idle woman
-G2365(2x) θυγάτριον =little daughter
-G2877(8x) κοράσιον =girl
-G3808(2x) παιδάριον =child, boy
-G3813(51x) παιδίον =child (Mk.5:40=maiden; Lk.1:59=John the non-Denom.)
-G5040(9x) τεκνίον =little child
-G5043(99x) τέκνον =child (Mt.9:2=man; 21:28=grown son; 23:27=children)

Please provide further explanation?
Thanks. / Robert George
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