Difference between revisions of "Feminine"

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(Examples of feminine nouns in English)
 
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'''Feminine''' (/femɪnɪn/) is a [[grammatical]] [[gender]] and [[noun class]].
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[[File:Middle class Danish women having lunch 16635936956.jpg|thumb|In English, the feminine gender is mainly used to describe women.]]
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'''Feminine''' (/femɪnɪn/) is a [[grammatical gender]] and [[noun class]].
  
 
In [[English]], a feminine noun always belongs to the [[personal gender]], never the [[impersonal gender]], and within the personal gender contrasts with [[masculine]].  Most people who are referred to using feminine nouns are biologically female, though many are not.  Feminine nouns are also often used to refer to female animals.  The feminine [[pronoun]]s in English are "she", "her", "hers" and "herself" and all these [[third person singular]], there are no equivalents for the [[third person plural]] or other grammatical persons, rather [[common gender]] pronouns are used instead.
 
In [[English]], a feminine noun always belongs to the [[personal gender]], never the [[impersonal gender]], and within the personal gender contrasts with [[masculine]].  Most people who are referred to using feminine nouns are biologically female, though many are not.  Feminine nouns are also often used to refer to female animals.  The feminine [[pronoun]]s in English are "she", "her", "hers" and "herself" and all these [[third person singular]], there are no equivalents for the [[third person plural]] or other grammatical persons, rather [[common gender]] pronouns are used instead.
  
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A good test for a feminine noun is to consider which [[pronoun]] can be used to refer to it when restricted to [[third person singular]] pronouns; if only "she" (etc) can be used and "he" (etc) can't be used, then as a consequence of [[gender concord]], the noun is feminine.  However, if either "he" or "she" can be used the noun is [[dual gender]], and if "he", "she" or "it" can be used then the noun is [[common gender]].
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== Examples of feminine nouns in English ==
 
== Examples of feminine nouns in English ==
  
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| Nouns for describing people || girl, lady, woman
 
| Nouns for describing people || girl, lady, woman
 
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| Family-related nouns || aunt, daughter, fiancée, mother, niece, sister, spinster, widower, wife
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| [[personal title]]s || Mrs, Miss,
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|-
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| Noun phrase with a feminine [[noun modifier]] or adjective
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| "girl guide", "woman doctor", "female student", etc
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|-
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| [[Family]]-related nouns || aunt, daughter, divorcée, fiancée, ma, mam, mammy, mother, mom, mommy, mum, mummy, niece, sister, spinster, widow, wife
 
|-
 
|-
| Descriptions of nationality, ethnicity, etc || Dutchwoman, Englishwoman, Filipina, Frenchwoman, Irishwoman, Latina, Manxwoman, Scotswoman, Welshwoman, Yorkshirewoman
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| [[Demonym]]s || Dutchwoman, Englishwoman, Filipina, Frenchwoman, Irishwoman, Latina, Manxwoman, Scotswoman, Welshwoman, Yorkshirewoman
 
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|-
 
| Gendered job titles || actress, seamstress, waitress, compounds with -woman (e.g. policewoman, saleswoman, etc)
 
| Gendered job titles || actress, seamstress, waitress, compounds with -woman (e.g. policewoman, saleswoman, etc)
 
|-
 
|-
| Aristocratic ranks || baroness, countess, duchess, empress, marchioness, princess, queen, viscountess
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| Aristocratic ranks || baroness, countess, duchess, empress, lady, marchioness, princess, queen, viscountess
 
|-
 
|-
| Female animals || bitch, cow, dam, doe, ewe, filly, hen, lioness,  mare, queen, tigress, vixen
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| Female animals || bitch, cow, dam, doe, ewe, filly, hen, leopardess, lioness,  mare, pen, queen, sow, tigress, vixen
 
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|-
|Latin loanwords || alumna(e), professor(s) emerita(e),
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|Latin loans || alumna(e), professor(s) emerita(e),
 
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|}
  
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== Gender-neutral language ==
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[[Gender-neutral language]], which uses the [[common gender]] to cover feminine, [[masculine]] and non-binary is preferred by many especially in formal [[register]]s of [[contemporary English]].  This is less common however in [[historical English]].
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== Gender concord ==
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Unlike many other languages, English does not generally have [[gender concord]] whereby other words must agree with the gender of the noun.  English does not generally therefore have gendered adjectives.  A notable exception is the French loanword ''[[né]]e'', literally meaning "born" but used to denote a name given at birth, which has feminine form née and the masculine form ''né''.  The masculine form is much less common than the feminine form due to the traditional Western custom of a woman taking her husband's surname upon marriage.
  
[[Gender-neutral language]], which uses the [[common gender]] to cover feminine, [[masculine]] and non-binary is preferred by many especially in formal [[register]]s of [[contemporary English]].  This is less common however in [[historical English]].
 
  
Unlike many other languages, English does not have [[gender concord]] whereby other words must agree with the gender of the noun.
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[[category:grammatical gender]]
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[[category:index]]

Latest revision as of 14:20, 23 June 2020

In English, the feminine gender is mainly used to describe women.

Feminine (/femɪnɪn/) is a grammatical gender and noun class.

In English, a feminine noun always belongs to the personal gender, never the impersonal gender, and within the personal gender contrasts with masculine. Most people who are referred to using feminine nouns are biologically female, though many are not. Feminine nouns are also often used to refer to female animals. The feminine pronouns in English are "she", "her", "hers" and "herself" and all these third person singular, there are no equivalents for the third person plural or other grammatical persons, rather common gender pronouns are used instead.

A good test for a feminine noun is to consider which pronoun can be used to refer to it when restricted to third person singular pronouns; if only "she" (etc) can be used and "he" (etc) can't be used, then as a consequence of gender concord, the noun is feminine. However, if either "he" or "she" can be used the noun is dual gender, and if "he", "she" or "it" can be used then the noun is common gender.


Examples of feminine nouns in English[edit]

Type Examples
Personal names Ruth, Samantha, Victoria, etc, etc, etc
Nouns for describing people girl, lady, woman
personal titles Mrs, Miss,
Noun phrase with a feminine noun modifier or adjective "girl guide", "woman doctor", "female student", etc
Family-related nouns aunt, daughter, divorcée, fiancée, ma, mam, mammy, mother, mom, mommy, mum, mummy, niece, sister, spinster, widow, wife
Demonyms Dutchwoman, Englishwoman, Filipina, Frenchwoman, Irishwoman, Latina, Manxwoman, Scotswoman, Welshwoman, Yorkshirewoman
Gendered job titles actress, seamstress, waitress, compounds with -woman (e.g. policewoman, saleswoman, etc)
Aristocratic ranks baroness, countess, duchess, empress, lady, marchioness, princess, queen, viscountess
Female animals bitch, cow, dam, doe, ewe, filly, hen, leopardess, lioness, mare, pen, queen, sow, tigress, vixen
Latin loans alumna(e), professor(s) emerita(e),

Gender-neutral language[edit]

Gender-neutral language, which uses the common gender to cover feminine, masculine and non-binary is preferred by many especially in formal registers of contemporary English. This is less common however in historical English.

Gender concord[edit]

Unlike many other languages, English does not generally have gender concord whereby other words must agree with the gender of the noun. English does not generally therefore have gendered adjectives. A notable exception is the French loanword née, literally meaning "born" but used to denote a name given at birth, which has feminine form née and the masculine form . The masculine form is much less common than the feminine form due to the traditional Western custom of a woman taking her husband's surname upon marriage.