nouns which have all three genders

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Encolpius

Senior Member
Hungarian
Good morning ladies & gentlemen, do you know about nouns in any language with all three genders, I think it is quite common to find nouns with two genders in Slavic or Germanic languages, but I am fascinated with nouns with all three genders.

Czech: I know only one word, the foreign word: image which can be ten, ta, to.

German: there is a nice list with words here

Thank you & have a productive day. Enco.
 
  • jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Encolpius's question is whether the same noun can have all of the three genders present in many Indo-European languages.
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    No, he's only interested in words across languages that can be masculine, feminine, and neuter at the same time. I don't think there's any Greek word that allows that, even though Greek has the three genders. I can think of Greek adjectives that qualify, but he's asking for nouns. Romance languages (except Romanian) are also excluded, because they only have two genders, with remnants of a neuter in very few cases.
     
    He wants to know of nouns that doesn't change form, or suffix in all three genders? Your answer is perfect then, thanks, and I don't think Greek adjectives qualify also, because the neuter changes form and suffix almost always.
     

    Olaszinhok

    Senior Member
    Standard Italian
    have two genders, with remnants of a neuter in very few cases.
    My answer is a bit off-topic. :p
    Italian has a few nouns which are masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural, retaining the Latin ending in -a of neuter plural nouns.
    uovo - uova (egg - eggs)
    dito - dita (finger - fingers)
    braccio - braccia (arm - arms)
    migliaio - migliaia (thousand(s) etc.
    Anyway, very few nouns can be both masculine and feminime in Italian, such as il/la carcere - jail: l'istrice - porcupine and so on, but one of the two genders generally prevails in the standard Language. I'm pretty sure that something similar occurs in the other languages in which a noun can be masculine, feminine and even neuter at the same time.
     
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    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Your answer is perfect then, thanks, and I don't think Greek adjectives qualify also, because the neuter changes form and suffix almost always.
    Μωβ, μπλε and ροζ, for example. Nobody said I couldn't use originally foreign words.
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Well, we must be more specific, since that phenomenon might be rare.
    Let's take the German word: Dschungel
    der Dschungel
    das Dschungel
    die Dschungel
    Fascinating, right?
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I don't know if it's fascinating. Genders in gendered languages have to be assigned to adopted words and sometimes different speakers or different regions come up with different solutions. Anyway, I see der Dschungel in the wild (pun intended) in German nowadays much more often than the other two genders.
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Greek
    I know few nouns with two genders:
    - masculine and feminine, e.g. άμμος (=sand) or λίθος (=stone),
    - masculine and neuter, e.g. πλούτος (=wealth).
    Βut with three?
    The closest case I can think of is πλάτανος (plane tree) which is masculine and feminine, but the neuter is πλατάνι.
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I don't think there are such nouns in Russian. Most typically variation in gender is accompanied by morphological alterations (e.g. zál vs. zála). Technically, the only cases where such variations are possible without explicit morphological changes in the nominative form are:
    1. 3rd declension feminine vs. 2nd declension soft-stem masculine loanwords (e.g. shampún');
    2. 1st declension masculine and feminine nouns (most typically they will be actually common gender nouns denoting humans, e.g. ubíytsa, sónya);
    3. indeclinable nouns (most typically, the recent loanwords ending in vowels other than -a). Still, belonging to all three genders would be highly problematic even for those, for morphological and semantic reasons.

    It should be noted that the system of three genders is almost exclusively Indo-European, and even among IE languages the loss of some or all genders is not uncommon.
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    Well, in Spanish, there's artista (artist in English). It can be preceded by el if it's a male artist, by la if it's a female artist and on some specific contexts by lo (for example, depende (de) lo artista que seas; it depends on how much an artist you are) but I'd say that after lo isn't a noun but a nominalized adjective.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Are there nouns with at least two genders in Russian?
    Sure, quite a few. Some 2nd/3rd declension loanwords ending in a soft consonant (e.g. "шампу́нь" m./f.), some indeclinable loanwords (most notably, ко́фе m./n.; and figuring out the supposedly correct gender of some naturally indeclinable exoticism may be quite a task) and abbreviations, some 1st declension suffixated words (голоси́на m./f., доми́на m./f.), some affective suffixated 2nd declension feminine name forms (Лено́к, Ма́шик etc., m./f.). And, of course, there are common gender 1st declension nouns, where the actual gender is decided semantically (уби́йца, у́мница, со́ня etc., m./f.).
     

    Demiurg

    Senior Member
    German
    Anyway, I see der Dschungel in the wild (pun intended) in German nowadays much more often than the other two genders.
    You're right. I doubt there exist regular nouns with three genders at all in modern German. On the other hand, there are a lot of nominalized adjectives with three genders: der/die/das Alte, der/die/das Neue, der/die/das Kleine, ...
     

    Włoskipolak 72

    Member
    Polish
    It often takes a while before a gender of a loan word has been established. Die Dschungel is already obsolete meanwhile and das Dschungel is about to "die out".
    Ok thanks , now I understand :rolleyes:
    In übertragener Bedeutung : wirres Durcheinander, Undurchdringlichkeit, Undurchschaubarkeit , ein Dschungel von Vorschriften und Verordnungen .
    In figurative meaning: confused, confusion, impenetrability, opacity, a jungle of rules and regulations .
     

    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    In Macedonian there are several two-gender nouns, and they can be divided in two groups. The nouns from the first group (вар, кал, жал, жар, песок, пепел, прав etc.) can be used with masculine definite articles, but also with feminine definite articles, without their meaning to be changed. So, whether you decide to use them as masculine or feminine nouns it is grammatically correct. The nouns from the second group (роднина, будала, пијаница etc.) take only feminine definite articles, but they can be used as two-gender nouns with masculine and feminine adjectives or pronouns.

    But you are interested in three-gender nouns.

    In Macedonian as three-gender nouns, or common-gender nouns, can be used some nouns of foreign origin: аташе (atašé) "attaché", гуру (gúru) "guru", протеже (protežé) "protégé", крупие (krupié) "croupier" etc. These nouns usually get neuter gender definite articles, but when they are used with adjectives or pronouns, and the articles go to the adjective or the pronoun, then these nouns can be used with masculine, feminine, and neuter adjectives and pronouns, depending of the context.

    Example:
    The word аташе (atašé) "attaché" used as masculine, feminine and neuter noun.
    • masculine: ...рускиот(adj. masc.) воен(adj. masc.) аташе(masc.)...
    • feminine: ...како парламентарна(adj. fem.) аташе(fem.)...
    • neuter: ...со одбранбеното(adj. neut.) аташе(neut.)...
     
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    marco_2

    Senior Member
    Polish
    In Polish the names of many professions can be masculine or feminine, depending who performs the job: a man or a woman, so e.g. (pan) doktor, adwokat, minister, profesor powiedział but (pani) doktor, adwokat, minister, profesor powiedziała. In colloquial speech people create the words like *doktorka* or *psycholożka* but they are considered out of the norm.
    It also came to my mind that in BCS (and Montenegrin) the word 'evening' can occur in three genders: dobar večer / dobra većer / dobro veče.
    And in Bulgarian there is a noun which sounds the same, but has two meanings and two genders: пръст = finger (m) and пръст = soil (f), but it is probably another issue.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In Polish the names of many professions can be masculine or feminine, depending who performs the job: a man or a woman, so e.g. (pan) doktor, adwokat, minister, profesor powiedział but (pani) doktor, adwokat, minister, profesor powiedziała.
    That context actually may be not the best indicator of gender. Cf. standard Russian "вошла молодой врач" (where the verb acquires the congruent feminine gender, but the attributive agrees in the grammatical masculine gender of the noun).
    What about attributives? Is "nasza doktor powiedziała..." grammatical?
     
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    marco_2

    Senior Member
    Polish
    That context actually may be not the best indicator of gender. Cf. standard Russian "вошла молодая врач" (where the verb acquires the congruent feminine gender, but the attributive agrees in the grammatical masculine gender of the noun).
    What about attributives? Is "nasza doktor powiedziała..." grammatical?
    Yes, it's correct - you can't say it another way. Молодая is also feminine.
     

    marco_2

    Senior Member
    Polish
    My bad, should be "вошла молодой врач", of course. :)
    In Polish *Weszła młody doktor* is of course incorrect, but młoda doktor is possible, though in such context we'd rather say młoda pani doktor or młoda lekarka. However when the adjective is именной частью сказуемого, we use a feminine form (e.g. Nasza doktor jest taka młoda).
     
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