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I am making a conlang in which the writing system is based off of Arabic but the grammar is not all that similar to Arabic or English(more justification for calling it a conlang if grammar has little similarity to the languages it is based off of).

I plan for it to be agglutinative but not necessarily to the degree that Hungarian has.

Anyway, I thought about it long and hard and decided to assign gender to words of at least these 4 parts of speech:

  • Nouns
  • Verbs
  • Adjectives
  • Pronouns

Not all verbs will I assign gender to. For example linking verbs like is or looks will not be assigned gender because they are used to link the subject to the action verb or to adjectives and adverbs.

Pronouns practically already have gender in them. For example "he" is masculine. However "he" could also be neuter, at least in English because it can be used to refer to someone of unknown gender. "it" is clearly neuter.

It does make sense though for all nouns and adjectives to have gender. And again, there are clear examples of where 1 gender makes far more sense. An example of that is the adjective "pregnant" It makes far more sense to say "pregnant" is feminine because male pregnancy, while possible, is extremely rare.

But as for the assigning of gender I figured it would be like this:

Feminine Masculine Neuter

Latin had this 3 gender system.

Now I am not so sure I would want inflections from grammatical case. I mean word order is a much simpler way to get across the same ideas as grammatical case. In other words for example instead of having the genitive case you could just use a possession marker on the possessor and either way, you get the same thing across, possession. But the possession marker is way simpler than inflecting every possessable noun for the genitive case.

But I was wondering, should adjectives agree with the noun in all aspects including gender or would a conlang where adjectives have inherent gender and don't have to agree with the noun when it comes to gender be just fine?

Note: I don't want to use the concepts in English except maybe the pronouns, I am just using it as an example language for those concepts partly because that is the only language I know to fluency. As for mixing up grammatical gender with biological gender, it isn't really a mix up. It is on purpose that I say that pregnant makes more sense as being feminine and he having 2 genders depending on how it's used. I think it makes more sense to have grammatical gender based on biological gender.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Hotkeys, curiousdannii, Jan, HDE 226868, Gypsy Spellweaver Feb 7 '18 at 1:24

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I'm voting to close this question because there are no right or wrong answers to this, as a designer you just have to make a decision. – curiousdannii Feb 7 '18 at 0:51
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    You’re mixing up gender, the grammatical concept, with gender/sex, the biological concept. The two have little in common. For example, the German word for girlMädchen — is neuter, not feminine. Likewise, he is always masculine but not necessarily always male. It is always neuter but sometimes male or female (‘This is my cow. It gave milk. This is my ox. It doesn’t give milk.’). And she can also refer to objects that are neither male nor female: ‘This is my Rolls Royce. She’s a real beauty.’ – Jan Feb 7 '18 at 1:13
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    I don't understand how this question is "opinion based". I think Caters is asking a legitimate question about the creation of an invented language. I'm also thinking that this Stack will stagnate if we keep closing actual language invention related questions. Because this: every "how to" question that has ever been asked about making a language is a question with no right and no wrong answers. I think we're getting off on the wrong foot here. We need to be more open to different kinds of questions, some of which will not have easy answers. Our topic is not like those of other stacks! – elemtilas Feb 7 '18 at 1:50
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    Caters: Still, you have not changed the actual text, your question remains unclear to me as you mix up the biological and grammatical concepts in your question. I think you may want to refer to the grammatical ones and have some misconceptions, but I prefer to ask for clarification rather than base an answer on what I think. – Jan Feb 7 '18 at 3:39
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    @Caters It may make sense to you a posteriori but that is not where the feminine grammatical gender in Indoeuropean languages comes from. In a very, very short summary it is a singularised plural marker. The oldest branches of Indoeuropean do not feature a feminine gender but only something akin to masculine and something akin to neuter. – Jan Feb 10 '18 at 10:51

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