Original Research

A three-dimensional approach to the gender/sex of nouns in Biblical Hebrew

J. H. Kroeze
Literator | Vol 15, No 3 | a682 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v15i3.682 | © 1994 J. H. Kroeze | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 May 1994 | Published: 02 May 1994

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J. H. Kroeze, Department of Classics and Semitics, Potchefstroom University for CHE, South Africa

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Abstract

The phenomenon of the gender/sex of nouns is normally handled two-dimensionally. Two levels are distinguished: (grammatical) gender and sex. Gender refers to the morphological and syntactic features of the noun, sex to the extralingual reality. This use of the term gender rests on the assumption that the morphological and syntactic features o f a noun are normally consistent. This assumption is tested and the results show that a three-dimensional approach would he better. In the relevant literature, there are indications of such a three-dimensional differentiation, where gender is used to indicate only the syntactic features of a noun. In this article it is proposed that morphological gender, syntactic gender and semantic gender (sex) should be distinguished consistently. A list of 23 different combinations were found among nouns occurring most frequently. These combinations are illustrated with examples. Morphological, syntactic and semantic statistics are also given which illustrate the unique characteristics of the three levels.

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