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GENDER

29. The Genders distinguished in Latin are three: Masculine, Feminine, and Neuter.

30. The gender of Latin nouns is either natural or grammatical.

a. Natural Gender is distinction as to the sex of the object denoted: as, puer (M.), boy; puella (F.), girl; rēx (M.), king; rēgīna (F.), queen.

Note.--Many nouns have both a masculine and a feminine form to distinguish sex: as, cervus , cerva, stag, doe; cliēns , clienta, client; victor, victrīx, conqueror.

Many designations of persons (as nauta, sailor) usually though not necessarily male are always treated as masculine. Similarly names of tribes and peoples are masculine: as, Rōmānī, the Romans; Persae, the Persians.

Note 2.--A few neuter nouns are used to designate persons as belonging to a class: as, mancipium <*>um your slave (your chattel).

Many petenames of girls and boys are neuter in form: as, Paegnium , Glycerium .

Note 3.--Names or classes or collections of persons may be of any gender: as, exercitus (M.), aciēs (F.), and agmen (N.), army; operae (F. plur.), workmen; cōpiae (F. plur.), troops<*> senātus (M.), senate; cohors (F.), cohort; concilium (N.), council.

b. Grammatical Gender is a formal distinction as to sex where no actual sex exists in the object. It is shown by the form of the adjective joined with the noun: as, lapis māgnus (M.), a great stone; manus mea (F.), my hand.


General Rules of Gender

31. Names of Male beings, and of Rivers, Winds, Months, and Mountains, are masculine:
  1. pater, father; Iūlius, Julius; Tiberis, the Tiber; auster, south wind; Iānuārius, January; Apennīnus, the Apennines.

Note.--Names of Months are properly adjectives, the masculine noun mēnsis, month, being understood: as, Iānuārius, January.

a. A few names of Rivers ending in -a (as, Allia ), with the Greek names Lēthē and Styx, are feminine; others are variable or uncertain.

b. Some names of Mountains are feminine or neuter, taking the gender of their termination: as, Alpēs (F.), the Alps; Sōracte (N.).

32. Names of Female beings, of Cities, Countries, Plants, Trees, and Gems, of many Animals (especially Birds), and of most abstract Qualities, are feminine:

  1. māter, mother; Iūlia, Julia; Rōma, Rome; Ītalia, Italy; rosa, rose; pīnus, pine; sapphīrus, sapphire; anas, duck; vēritās, truth.

a. Some names of Towns and Countries are masculine: as, Sulmō , Gabiī (plur.); or neuter, as, Tarentum , Illyricum .

b. A few names of Plants and Gems follow the gender of their termination: as, centaurēum (N.), centaury; acanthus (M.), bearsfoot; opalus (M.), opal.

Note.--The gender of most of the above may also be recognized by the terminations, according to the rules given under the several declensions. The names of Roman women were usually feminine adjectives denoting their gēns or house (see § 108. b).

33. Indeclinable nouns, infinitives, terms or phrases used as nouns, and words quoted merely for their form, are neuter:

  1. fās, right; nihil, nothing; gummī, gum; scīre tuum, your knowledge (to know); trīste valē, a sad farewell; hōc ipsum diū, this very “long.”

34. Many nouns may be either masculine or feminine, according to the sex of the object. These are said to be of Common Gender: as, exsul, exile; bōs, ox or cow; parēns, parent.

Note.--Several names of animals have a grammatical gender, independent of sex. These are called epicene. Thus lepus, hare, is always masculine, and vulpēs, fox, is always feminine.

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