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On Sat, 31 Oct 2009 13:41:54 +0000, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Philip Newton wrote:
>> 2009/10/31 Toms Deimonds Barvidis <[log in to unmask]>:
>>> there were few things I thought I don't  want to see in
>>> an elflang, for example, noun genders. My Elven Society
>>> does not split up by genders, it's not important
>>> whether the warrior or king or anyone else is a male or
>>> female, so I decided that it would best for Longrimol
>>> to have no genders (except for natural, like "he" vs
>>> "she", "daughter" vs "son".
>>
>> Even the he/she distinction is not universal; cf.
>> Hungarian and Finnish.
>
>...and probably the greater number of human languages   ;)

Indeed!  "Not universal" is true but oddly understated -- having a he/she
distinction is unmistakably less common than lacking one.  WALS' sample puts
it at at most 122 langs with a 3rd person distinction (in either singular or
plural) versus 256 without:
  http://wals.info/feature/44
And not even all the languages which make pronominal gender distinctions use
masculine vs. feminine (though most do); some have just animacy, or some
other classification.  

The usual refrain: don't mistake features common in European languages for
universals!

Alex