Padraic Brown wrote: > --- Sarah Marie Parker-Allen > <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > > >>I think the thing I was going for in the >>separation of plurals into their >>own "genders" is that some designations don't >>extend to the plural. That >>is, there are separate declensions for >>baby/animal versus child/youth, when >>the noun is singular -- but four babies, six >>animals, eight children, and >>thirty-six teenagers all get the same >>declension. > > > OK, I see. I would simply keep the genders the > same and distribute the same ending amongst the > plurals, with a note that plurals of these > different genders are identical. For me, that > would save a big headache! For thee, if you can > keep it straight, that's what's important. :) That's the way I'd do it. This is why in Latin, for example, you need to know two forms of a noun to be able to tell what declension it is. First declension masculine nouns end with -us in the nominative singular, but so do fourth declension feminine nouns. >>The same goes for >>adults -- there's different ones for one man, >>one woman, etc., but three >>women, six men, or fourteen adults (not gender >>specific) would all get the >>same declension. I think that idea came from >>how in Russian, the plural >>form of "you" and the formal singular form of >>"you" are the same (that is, >>it's the same pronoun, and they're declined the >>same) I have NO real >>linguistics training so I'm guessing when I say >>things like "gender." > > > Well, there's two kinds: natural and grammatical. > > > The first varies as to, well, what sort of > plumbing you have on board. The latter is simply > a category, having nothing to do with biology. > > You could have any kind of "gender" that way: a > "round" gender for example, that encompasses any > number of semantic categories like "bread loaf", > "breast", "pot", "eye", "head" cos they're all > round; maybe even extend that to round emotions > like love or whatever. On the other hand, > "genders" can be entirely utilitarian like "I, II > and III"; where words are sorted by some > linguistic criterion into one of three groups. > This is the kind you have in Latin or Spanish, > where words that end in -a, -o a consonant or > whatever get sorted into different groups. Well, sort of. Latin has 4 declensions, but only 3 genders (and one of which, neuter, is really just a slight variation on another, masculine). They're connected concepts--first declension is always masculine (except for a few neuters), second is always feminine, third contains examples of all genders, fourth is mostly feminine (IIRC)--but they don't line up exactly. Adjectives always use the first or second declension endings to match the gender of the noun they modify, even if the noun is in the third or fourth declension.