Author Topic: Why is most Indo-European and Afroasiatic anguage distinguish male noun and fema  (Read 196 times)

Offline giselberga

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Arabic, Icelandic, Russian, French, german, Spanish Language distinguish male noun and female noun
And Russian and Icelandic language distinguish adjective and verb from male and female
Why is most Indo-European and Afroasiatic language distinguish male noun and female noun?

Offline panini

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One answer is "because they can" (and likewise, Chinese, Korean and Quechua don't have sex-gender "because they can"). In the case of Afroasiatic, this distinction is sufficiently ancient that you can only say "that's how they've always done it", whereas in Indo-European there is a good case to be made that originally there was a simpler animate / inanimate distinction that morphed into a sex-influenced system. Of course you can always wonder why a language would grammatically distinguish animate vs. inanimate, or long thin things vs. artifacts, so at some point the answer has to be "because it is so".