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https://www.duolingo.com/deeptendu

His, her and __?

deeptendu
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Many languages have his and her to denote the male and female third person. Some languages don't differentiate (bengali).

What does your language(s) do?

Is there a language which addresses gender other than male and female in a respectable manner?

2 years ago

23 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/zubiz
zubiz
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Turkish has only one personal pronoun for singular 3rd person to represent both genders AND even non living things: the single-letter word "o".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/csi
csi
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That's so interesting! Hungarian has the word "ő" for him/her, but only for humans (and sometimes animals). There is no word for "it", you would have to use "ez/az" (this/that) to denote "it".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zubiz
zubiz
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That's also interesting. A few hours ago I was reading about similarities between Hungarian and Turkish and turns out that there are actually quite a lot of them. Apparently vocabulary, agglutination, possessive pronouns etc. intersect a lot more than I would ever expect.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/csi
csi
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Yes, I had a conversation with a Turkish speaker before about the agglutinative nature of Turkish. I guess Hungarian and Turkish were thought to be related languages in the past but I guess linguists no longer think so:

"Altaic /ælˈteɪᵻk/ is a proposed language family of central Eurasia, now widely seen as discredited.[1][2][3][4] Various versions included the Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, Koreanic, and Japonic languages.[5] These languages are spoken in a wide arc stretching from northeast Asia through Central Asia to Anatolia and eastern Europe.[6] The group is named after the Altai Mountains, a mountain range in Central Asia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altaic_languages

"Hungarian is a member of the Uralic language family. Linguistic connections between Hungarian and other Uralic languages were noticed in the 1670s, and the family itself (then called Finno-Ugric) was established in 1717, though the classification of Hungarian as a Uralic/Finno-Ugric rather than Turkic language continued to be a matter of impassioned political controversy through the 18th and into the 19th centuries. Hungarian has traditionally been assigned to a Ugric branch within Uralic/Finno-Ugric, along with the Mansi and Khanty languages of western Siberia (Khanty–Mansia region), but it is no longer clear that this is a valid group. When the Samoyed languages were determined to be part of the family, it was thought at first that Finnic and Ugric (Finno-Ugric) were closer to each other than to the Samoyed branch of the family, but this position is currently considered questionable.[4][5]" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_language#Classification

"Ural–Altaic[edit] Main article: Ural–Altaic languages Theories proposing a close relationship with the Altaic languages were formerly popular, based on similarities in vocabulary as well as in grammatical and phonological features, in particular the similarities in the Uralic and Altaic pronouns and the presence of agglutination in both sets of languages, as well as vowel harmony in some. For example, the word for "language" is similar in Estonian (keel) and Mongolian (хэл (hel)). These theories are now generally rejected[48] and most such similarities are attributed to language contact or coincidence." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uralic_languages#Ural.E2.80.93Altaic

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/deeptendu
deeptendu
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Well, even bengali have a letter to refer to him/her without emphasising on gender. Bengali uses ও (pronounced as o). Bengali also have সে (pronounced shé) to denote third person singular without indicating the gender.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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My native language is English. English offers a singular "they". :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dcarl1
Dcarl1
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Malay, my sister-in-law's language, has a neutral term for he/she/it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/deeptendu
deeptendu
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What is that term? Can you provide a sentence as an example?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Himawari34

(Saw this few days ago and I thought of answering your questions if Dcarl1 doesn't reply)
The term in Malay for he/she is 'dia'. Malay also offer neutral term for 'they' (like in English) which is 'mereka'.
Examples:
Dia sedang membaca buku (he/she is reading a book)
Mereka bermain bola sepak (they're playing football/soccer)

For 'it' (if Dcarl1 is referring to he/she version of animal/inanimate object), I really don't know other than saying (example) "kucing itu/ini makan ikan" (the cat eats fish) because 'dia' usually refers to human being.
('Itu' refers to object that is far away from you and 'ini' refers to object that is near to you; something similar to this/that)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gabzerbinatoEng
gabzerbinatoEng
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My language sucks when it comes to being gender neutral :P We always need to use parenthesis and slashes, like the English (S)he or He/she. While in English one could use the singular "they" in a normal way, you need to take a risk and guess in my language, something that apparently does not seem difficult, but trust me, it is in a forum for example.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/csi
csi
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What is your language?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII
BastouXII
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The Scandinavian languages have their two genders defined differently than feminine and masculine, they are common (people) and neutral (inanimate objects). It started from the 3 genders of Germanic languages (and Latin), but fused the masculine and feminine together, instead of the neuter with either masculine or feminine like Romance languages. Some dialects of Dutch also have these genders.

More detail on Wikipedia

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DragonPolyglot
DragonPolyglot
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In English, recently the singular "they" have been more accepted as oppose to him and her. I know that Finnish (even though I don't speak it) has s word that functions the same way and Swedish added one recently. Many others have just the two, but uses the masculine as the neutral as well (Spanish does this sometimes, especially with "ellos").

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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Both epicene “he” and singular “they” have been used in English for at least 500 years.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DragonPolyglot
DragonPolyglot
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Epicene "he"? I don't think I've heard the word "epicene" before.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Athenicuber

It means androgynous/asexual

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DragonPolyglot
DragonPolyglot
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Okay.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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It can be found in any good English dictionary.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gabzerbinatoEng
gabzerbinatoEng
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Actually Finnish always had that word. Swedish is the language that had a gender neutral pronoun added recently.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DragonPolyglot
DragonPolyglot
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Ah, I got my languages mixed up! Thanks.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zubiz
zubiz
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I heard that the country which recently added a neutral pronoun was Sweden. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hen_(pronoun)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/deeptendu
deeptendu
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Singular 'they'? Never heard that. Can you provide any resource from which I can find out more?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Here is where singular they won word of the year.

It operates like singular you. It uses plural verbs. "they are" instead of "they is". Here are some examples I found via Facebook:
singular they usage Image Source

2 years ago