Zainab Abdulaziz Abdulla AlSabbagh


While some Native Arabic speakers assign a certain grammatical gender to neutral nouns based on whether they perceive them to be either a male/masculine or female/feminine like, others assign them a grammatical gender arbitrarily. This research aims to find out 1. whether there is a tendency among Native Arabic speakers to assign neutral nouns male grammatical gender as a result of the Arabic language’s tendency to assign neutral nouns male grammatical gender. It also aims to find out 2. what rationale the Native Arabic speakers have for their grammatical gender assignment of neutral nouns despite the Arabic language's grammatical gender assignment to nouns being arbitrary, in addition to 3. whether or not the participants would assign nouns they find feminine-like a female grammatical gender and nouns that they perceive as masculine-like a male grammatical gender, or would just assign a grammatical gender arbitrarily. This paper's findings showed that the majority of participants of both genders (i.e., males and females) tended to assign male grammatical gender to most of the neutral nouns, as 10 nouns out of 14 were assigned a male grammatical gender by the majority of both male and female participants. The participants stated that they did not perceive the nouns they assigned a male grammatical gender masculine-like but rather assigned them a male grammatical gender either arbitrarily or by default as the Arabic language tends to assign male grammatical gender to neutral nouns, whereas the majority stated that they assigned certain neutral nouns such as my knife and Falafel a female grammatical gender not because they perceived them as feminine-like, but rather because this is what they heard/acquired from those surrounding them. Therefore, the grammatical gender assignment of nouns was not semantic but rather morphological and syntactic and was done by the addition of affixation either to the noun itself or to its adjective.


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