Masculine and feminine numbers in modern use of Hebrew

Yaella

Member
Français - Belgique
Hello all,
Is there a tendency in modern Hebrew to simplify the masculine / feminine use of numbers? For example, would people say shlosh 'esre banim and shlosh 'esre banot ?
 
  • Yaella

    Member
    Français - Belgique
    Yes, but it's totally wrong.
    From a prescriptive grammar point of view, it is wrong, but would people speaking like that be considered uneducated? Or would people insisting on the gender of numbers be considered particularly picky?
     

    slus

    Senior Member
    Hebrew - Israel
    It's a good question, and the answer is somewhere in between.
    It's too common to be considered uneducated, but you wouldn't expect your lawyer or doctor to say "shlosh esre banim".
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    There's been a prevailing view that there is a slowly progressing process of gender neutralization for numbers in Modern Hebrew.

    However, this fascinating study this into question. It analyzes the conditions under which this gender neutralization occurs, and finds that it is only under specific circumstances, and that therefore there might not be any such trend in the general case. Anyway, if you read the paper, it explains under which conditions it tends to happen, and under which conditions most people tend to use correct genders for numbers.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    My experience is that in general number gender is preserved (that is, people talk grammatically). Exceptions are very colloquial / uncareful language (usually spoken <vs. written>, inconsistently) and a few idioms like חמש שקל. Other non-grammatical things like חמש מיליון בנות are a different issue, applying the noun's gender instead of the quantifier's gender.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    My experience is that in general number gender is preserved (that is, people talk grammatically). Exceptions are very colloquial / uncareful language (usually spoken <vs. written>, inconsistently) and a few idioms like חמש שקל. Other non-grammatical things like חמש מיליון בנות are a different issue, applying the noun's gender instead of the quantifier's gender.
    If you look at the study I linked to, it systematically identifies the rule for when the gender distinction is maintained and when it often is not.
     
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