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I suggest you look into Iroquoian gender, which is deceptively described in most of the literature as a straight M-F-N-Indefinite system, but the semantics contain a lot of oddities that are similar to what you want here.  This is largely due to how the system evolved.  If you want to speak of, say, women generally, you may not actually use the feminine, but rather the indefinite; but if you want to speak of "high" women (matriarchs and grandmothers, e.g., who hold high status in traditional Iroquoian culture) generally, you'd use the feminine; the feminine can function as an honorific for high women, but is not necessarily applicable to _all_ women.  And the semantics of referring to animals of different biological sex is even more complicated.

--- On Wed, 5/5/10, Peter Bleackley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> From: Peter Bleackley <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Relaxing noun classes
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Wednesday, May 5, 2010, 4:58 AM
> Suppose we have a language with a
> system of noun classes that includes
> I. Member of the tribe
> II. Foreigner
> III. Domestic animal
> IV. Wild animal
> ...amongst others. How could we talk about humans in
> general, or animals in general?
> 
> Maybe there could be a process that when applied to a noun
> X from a certain class Y, produced a noun that meant
> "something like an X, but does not necessarily belong
> strictly to class Y". The noun thus formed would thus still
> belong morphologically to class Y, but would semantically be
> seen as a member of a broader superset of class Y.
> 
> Anyone know of anything similar?
> 
> Pete
>