Language Alter Ego

Gender and fundamental concepts across languages

The gender of nouns, including those for fundamental concepts like death, the sun, and the moon, varies across languages. Here's an overview of how these entities are depicted in terms of gender in different languages, along with examples:


  • In English/Japanese/Swahili: "Death" is a neutral, ungendered noun.
  • In French: "La mort" is feminine (e.g., "La mort est inévitable" - Death is inevitable).
  • In German: "Der Tod" is masculine (e.g., "Der Tod kommt für uns alle" - Death comes for us all).
  • In Spanish: "La muerte" is feminine (e.g., "La muerte no discrimina" - Death does not discriminate).
  • In Italian: "La morte" is feminine (e.g., "La morte è inevitabile" - Death is inevitable).
  • In Russian: "Смерть" (Smert') is feminine (e.g., "Смерть приходит ко всем" - Death comes to everyone).
  • In Arabic: "الموت"(al-mawt) is masculine. For example, "الموت جزء من الحياة" (Al-mawt juz' min al-hayah) - Death is a part of life.
  • In Hindi: "मृत्यु" (Mṛtyu) is feminine (e.g., "मृत्यु अवश्यंभावी है" - Death is inevitable).


  • In English/Japanese/Swahili: "Sun" is neutral, ungendered noun.
  • In French: "Le soleil" is masculine (e.g., "Le soleil brille" - The sun is shining).
  • In German: "Die Sonne" is feminine (e.g., "Die Sonne geht auf" - The sun is rising).
  • In Spanish: "El sol" is masculine (e.g., "El sol está caliente" - The sun is hot).
  • In Italian: "Il sole" is masculine (e.g., "Il sole splende" - The sun is shining).
  • In Russian: "Солнце" (Solntse) is neuter (e.g., "Солнце встает" - The sun is rising).
  • In Arabic: "الشمس" (ash-shams) is feminine (e.g., "الشمس مشرقة" - The sun is shining).
  • In Hindi: "सूरज" (sūraj) is masculine. For example, "सूरज पश्चिम से उगता है" (Sūraj paścim se ugatā hai) - The sun rises in the west.


  • In English/Japanese/Swahili: "Moon" is neutral, ungendered noun.
  • In French: "La lune" is feminine (e.g., "La lune est pleine" - The moon is full).
  • In German: "Der Mond" is masculine (e.g., "Der Mond leuchtet" - The moon is shining).
  • In Spanish: "La luna" is feminine (e.g., "La luna es hermosa" - The moon is beautiful).
  • In Italian: "La luna" is feminine (e.g., "La luna è piena" - The moon is full).
  • In Russian: "Луна" (Luna) is feminine (e.g., "Луна светит" - The moon is shining).
  • In Arabic: "القمر" (al-qamar) is masculine (e.g., "القمر جميل الليلة" - The moon is beautiful tonight).
  • In Hindi: "चाँद" (Chānd) or "चंद्रमा" (Chandramā) is masculine (e.g., "चाँद बहुत सुंदर है" - The moon is very beautiful).

The gender associations with these concepts are largely arbitrary in many languages and do not necessarily reflect any inherent qualities of the objects. In some cases, cultural and linguistic factors play a role in assigning gender. For example, in Romance languages like French and Spanish, nouns have grammatical gender, while in German, the gender assignment might be more arbitrary. It is interesting to compare across cultures how these universal concepts are depicted based on their gender. You will see in some movies Death being depicted as a man, based on the masculine gender, while in other cultures Death will be painted as a woman. Comparing these concepts from the linguistic point of view gives more understanding and culture and traditions.