Grammatical Gender replacement


Old English and other Indo-European languages had a three-fold distinction of a grammatical category called gender. It's not the same as what is commonly called gender, where a rooster might be masculine (he), a mare feminine (she), and a farm neuter (it). Instead, in Old English the way words were assigned to a gender had little to do with biological sex or social constructions. The association between word and gender is grammatical and arbitrary. The first group of words below, for example, are all feminine nouns (o-stems, see our textbook) preceded by their demonstratives.

Link: http://projects.iq.harvard.edu/files/cb45/files/oe_gender-1.pdf

sēo sāwol the soul
sēo firen the crime
sēo giefu the gift
sēo cwēn the queen

The following are neuter (a-stems):

þæt lim the limb
þæt wīf the woman
þæt word the word
þæt cynn the kin

And masculine (a-stems):

se æcer the acre
se wulf the wolf
se fugol the fowl
se mearh the horse

Print this page OR print the pdf file linked above. Then for each group, write out the appropriate inflection for both the definite article and the noun as directed in the box to the right. You will need to consult the textbook for the correct forms for both the article and noun ending. The first one is given here:

sēo sāwol   dative singular __  þære sawle ____
sēo firen   accusative singular _______________________
sēo giefu   nominative plural _______________________
sēo cwēn   genitive plural _______________________

 

þæt lim   dative singular _______________________
þæt wīf   accusative singular _______________________
þæt word   nominative plural _______________________
þæt cynn   genitive plural _______________________

 

se æcer   dative singular _______________________
se wulf   accusative singular _______________________
se fugol   nominative plural _______________________
se mearh   genitive plural _______________________