[DWJ] In which I satisfy the curious (I hope!)

Katarina Hjärpe head_overheels at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 22 08:56:51 EDT 2006

>I have a memory of reading somewhere that though standard Swedish is like 
>the rest of >Scandinavia in distinguishing only common and neuter gender,s 
>there are rural dialects which still >retain some vestiges of 
>masculine/feminine? and isn't  -a a characteristic feminine ending in these 
> >dialects? (I'm talking of >common nouns, not names).
>Am I remembering right, or is this nonsense?

I have absolutely no idea, but it sounds likely enough. Although, my inner 
anal-retentive gal feels forced to point out that Swedish *does* distinguish 
masculine and feminine, we just don't use them about items anymore. People 
and animals are still one or another for the most part. And some items can 
be referred to in masculine or feminine without anyone raising any eyebrows: 
the clock is often called "she", for example, even if "it" is even more 

So I have no problem believing that there are dialects where he and she are 
used about all kinds of inanimate objects, but I don't know it for certain.


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