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Robert Hailman wrote:
> Quite possible, but what I want to know is what would cause a gender
> system to change so dramatically.

I'm picturing a gender system evolving in a language that had no gender
system.

> I also find it doubtful that a culture would adopt a new gender system
> just because they couldn't understand what gave nouns their gender under
> the old ones, more likely that would cause them to drop gender almost
> entirely.

Any feature of language can evolve from the absence, a caseless language
can develop cases, and a genderless language can evolve gender.  Exactly
where gender comes from isn't completely agreed-upon, but probably
evolves from classifiers.  So, my idea was a language that had no gender
(possibly having lost another gender system in the past) developed a
gender system based upon things like electric/non-electric.

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