When to use masculine plural or feminine plural for groups?

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by AX2, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. AX2 New Member

    Consider as an example a group of one male student AND two female students.

    Would you say Studenten or Studentinnen to refer to that group?
  2. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Grammatically correct: "die Studenten"
    Politically correct: "die Studentinnen und Studenten"

    The natural gender does not (or better should not) determine the grammatical gender.
    We also say "die Person" if a male subject is meant.

    Oddly enough, I have never heard "Mörderinnen und Mörder" by those PC fanatics.
  3. stefffi Member

    In official documents of German universities you will often find "Studierende" instead of "Studentinnen und Studenten" since it is short and gender neutral. It is even used in singular form, when the sex of the student is actually known, e.g. on my documents it often says "Der Studierende der [Fachbereich] [Name] hat am [...]" instead of "Der Student [...]".

    Including the female form for the sake of political correctness is often called "Gendern" oder "Gendering" in German and is a very controversial topic. Some oppose it due to linguistic reasons, for others it's not going far enough because we still don't include intersexual people etc.
  4. Gernot Back

    Gernot Back Senior Member

    Cologne, Germany
    German - Germany
    The ridiculous thing about this "gendering" in German is that -most of the times- wannabe PC politicians, office holders and functionaries don't even use the feminine plural at all when talking fast. Instead, they double the masculine (or rather: the zero-suffixed generic plural) and speak of Bürger und Bürger, Wähler und Wähler, Mitarbeiter und Mitarbeiter, Verbraucher und Verbraucher etc.

  5. AX2 New Member

    So it looks like it's the same as in Portuguese.
    We too use the masculine to refer to a group of male and female elements. And we also say "A pessoa" = "Die Person" (and not "O pessoa" = "Der Person") , whether we're talking about a female subject or not.

    About what's politically correct... Well, personally I'm not quite bothered with people always using the masc. since I'm a male, eheh
    But I do disagree with that.
    I wouldn't like if I were amongst a couple of girls and someone'd come and say, "Hallo Studentinnen". That'd be almost like an insult. I mean, I'm a male, therefore ein Student, not eine Studentin!

    One point for the English language ^^
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  6. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    It's a bit different than in Portuguese and French for example. That's why I said grammatical and natural gender are not necessarily connected although it seems to be so in 95% of the cases.

    Have a look at "das Mitglied" which is neuter. It can be used to address males and females.
    "Liebe Mitgliederinnen und Mitglieder" sounds even more weird because it is not even masculine.

    You can address a female only group by "Liebe Studenten, Liebe Mitgleider, etc.".
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012

Share This Page