Lexicon Valley: Why Do Some Languages Have Grammatical Gender?

A show about the mysteries of English.
April 30 2012 12:17 PM

When Nouns Grew Genitals

Listen to Slate’s show about what it means for language to have gender.

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Listen to Lexicon Valley Episode No. 8: When Nouns Grew Genitals

Languages all across the world have what’s called grammatical gender, which means simply that nouns get divvied up into different categories or “classes.” Sometimes those categories are called masculine and feminine, like in Spanish, although for some other languages the categories have nothing at all to do with natural gender or biological sex. In the first of a multipart Lexicon Valley series, Bob Garfield and I explore what it means for language to have gender and how it affects the way we think about the world.

You'll find every Lexicon Valley episode at slate.com/lexiconvalley, or in the player below:

Send your thoughts about the show to slatelexiconvalley@gmail.com.

Mike Vuolo is senior producer of podcasts and editor of @lexiconvalley.