SV: Paired Horse and PIE breakup

Georg von Simson g.v.simson at EAST.UIO.NO
Wed Nov 11 09:34:57 UTC 1998

Lars Martin Fosse wrote:
>An interesting feature of the Indo-European gender system is the fact that
>the ending for feminine nom is the same as the nom/voc/acc ending of the
>neutre plural. This has spawned the theory that the ending originally
>simply meant a collective (like -heit in German Mensch-heit). Notice that
>neutre nominative plurals in Greek have their verbs in the singular! This
>would mean that these suffixes were reinterpreted, giving either neutre
>plurals or feminine singulars: e.g. Latin bona (fem. good) or bona (neut.
>plur. good things). There is no need to assume a sexist attitude
>developing in society.
Isn't this one of the features that connect Indo-European with the (or
some?) Semitic languages? As far as I remember, in Arabic, which has (like
the Romance languages) the two genders m. and f., any inanimate, regardless
whether m. or f. in singular, is  grammatically (i. e. if connected with an
adjective or referred to by a pronoun) treated in plural as a *feminine

Best regards

Georg v. Simson

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