Why are grammatical genders often rooted in 'biology'?

As a sidenote my second example isn't actually that good. Because technically il and elle are the nominative 3rd person pronouns for anything in the masculine and feminine classes respectively they're both used for non-people too, and could both be translated as it is tall. I explained it that way because it makes more sense to an English speaker than it actually does in French, if that makes any sense.

Maybe an alternative is replacing il and elle with proper names, but that makes an assumption about names Or they could be replaced with something like le homme/la femme (the man/the woman), but there's no requirement those words line up with the noun class they represent (even though they do in French) e.g. une personne (a person) is always female.

/r/linguistics Thread Parent