Noun class

related topics
{language, word, form}
{woman, child, man}
{specie, animal, plant}
{theory, work, human}
{food, make, wine}
{@card@, make, design}
{math, number, function}

In linguistics, the term noun class refers to a system of categorizing nouns. A noun may belong to a given class because of characteristic features of its referent, such as sex, animacy, shape, but counting a given noun among nouns of such or another class is often clearly conventional. Some authors use the term "grammatical gender" as a synonym of "noun class", but others use different definitions for each (see below). Noun classes should not be confused with noun classifiers.

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Notion

In general, there are three main ways by which natural languages categorize nouns into noun classes:

  • according to similarities in their meaning (semantic criterion),
  • by grouping them with other nouns that have similar form (morphology), or
  • through an arbitrary convention.

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