Research Article

Grammatical Gender Effects on Cross-linguistic Categorization


  • Christopher D. Sams Associate Professor of Linguistics, Stephen F. Austin State University, United States


This article examines the effect that the terms used to describe grammatical gender (e.g., “masculine”) and “feminine”) have on a speaker’s perception of how the marked lexical item may be classified. The overt classification can manifest itself in subconscious ways. For example, if shown a picture of a key and asked if it were in a cartoon if the voice would be a male or female, often speakers assign the voice based on how the noun is marked in their language: masculine in German and feminine in Spanish. Further study is needed working with bilingual speakers or gender-marking languages and studies are needed that control of level of proficiency to see if the same effect is present for second language learners regardless of if L1 marks grammatical gender or not. It is clear that there is a categorization bias for gender-marking languages, but further study is required to control for variables that could contribute to the phenomenon.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

3 (7)





How to Cite

Sams, C. D. . (2020). Grammatical Gender Effects on Cross-linguistic Categorization. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 3(7), 16–22. Retrieved from



Grammatical gender, linguistic typology, lexical categorization, psycholinguistics, semantics, philosophy of language