FW: WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE GENDER OF NOUNS

From: Bill Ross (wross@farmerstel.com)
Date: Mon Jan 31 2000 - 08:37:18 EST


This was posted on the B-Hebrew list in answer to the same question.

It is interesting to me that this phenomenon appears in both Hebrew and
Greek, though the development of the two languages is considered to be
completely independent.

Bill Ross

-----Original Message-----
From: Reinhard G.Lehmann [mailto:lehmann@mail.uni-mainz.de]
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2000 12:42 AM
To: Biblical Hebrew
Subject: Re: WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE GENDER OF NOUNS

An exhaustive treatment of the origins for the assignment of gender to
nouns and the
reasoning behind it has been made by Diethelm Michel, Grundlegung einer
hebraeischen Syntax. Vol. 1: Sprachwissenschaftliche Methodik. Genus und
Numerus des Nomens, Neukirchen 1977.
The point made by Michel is that the -a/at and -ot endings originally
were to mark nomina unitatis and the and -im endings originally were
to mark collectiva. Overlapping of that system with the natural gender
of living beeings ('sexus') and the classes of 'small' ("dienend") vs
'big' ("herrschend") results in the assignment of actual noun genders.

A short description is, as I remember, somewhere in Nahum Waldman, The
recent study of Hebrew, but I actually do not have that volume at hand.

Reinhard G.Lehmann

--
       *****************************************
       Dr. Reinhard G. Lehmann
       Lecturer for Classical Hebrew and Old Aramaic
       Johannes-Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz
       D - 55099 Mainz
       tel: +49 - 6131 - 39 3284
       mailto:lehmann@mail.uni-mainz.de
       look at http://www.uni-mainz.de/~lehmann/link.html
       *****************************************

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