home edit page issue tracker

This page pertains to UD version 2.

Gender: gender

Values: Com Fem Masc Neut

Gender is usually a lexical feature of nouns and inflectional feature of other parts of speech (pronouns, adjectives, determiners, numerals, verbs) that mark agreement with nouns. In English gender affects only the choice of the personal pronoun (he / she / it) and the feature is usually not encoded in English tagsets.

See also the related feature of Animacy.

African languages have an analogous feature of noun classes: there might be separate grammatical categories for flat objects, long thin objects etc.

Masc: masculine gender

Nouns denoting male persons are masculine. Other nouns may be also grammatically masculine, without any relation to sex.


Fem: feminine gender

Nouns denoting female persons are feminine. Other nouns may be also grammatically feminine, without any relation to sex.


Neut: neuter gender

Some languages have only the masculine/feminine distinction while others also have this third gender for nouns that are neither masculine nor feminine (grammatically).


Com: common gender

Some languages do not distinguish masculine/feminine most of the time but they do distinguish neuter vs. non-neuter (Swedish neutrum / utrum). The non-neuter is called common gender.

Note that it could also be expressed as a combined value Gender=Fem,Masc. Nevertheless we keep Com also as a separate value. Combined feature values should only be used in exceptional, undecided cases, not for something that occurs systematically in the grammar. Language-specific extensions to these guidelines should determine whether the Com value is appropriate for a particular language.

Note further that the Com value is not intended for cases where we just cannot derive the gender from the word itself (without seeing the context), while the language actually distinguishes Masc and Fem. For example, in Spanish, nouns distinguish two genders, masculine and feminine, and every noun can be classified as either Masc or Fem. Adjectives are supposed to agree with nouns in gender (and number), which they typically achieve by alternating -o / -a. But then there are adjectives such as grande or feliz that have only one form for both genders. So we cannot tell whether they are masculine or feminine unless we see the context. Yet they are either masculine or feminine (feminine in una ciudad grande, masculine in un puerto grande). Therefore in Spanish we should not tag grande with Gender=Com. Instead, we should either drop the gender feature entirely (suggesting that this word does not inflect for gender) or tag individual instances of grande as either masculine or feminine, depending on context.


Gender in other languages: [bej] [bg] [cs] [cy] [el] [en] [es] [fr] [ga] [grc] [hbo] [it] [myv] [pt] [qpm] [ru] [sl] [sv] [u] [uk]