117 Female and male animals

This feature is described more fully in chapter 117.


Feature 117 is about the strategies chosen to specify whether animals are female or male. Only productive, non-lexicalized patterns like lion-lioness are considered here. Lexicalized pairs such as English bull-cow are disregarded, as are unproductive patterns like fox-vixen, even if they are etymologically related.

The question whether the base word, apart from the generic meaning, can also denote only the female or only the male animal (like English tiger meaning ‘male and female tiger’ or only ’male tiger’) is irrelevant for this feature. Also irrelevant is the token frequency of the element, that is, sex-denoting elements for animals that are rarely referred to count the same as those for animals that speakers talk about more frequently. As to the type frequency, as long as there is at least one word among all the words for animals that can receive a sex-denoting element, this suffices for a value to be set to “true”, the actual frequency of the particular pattern in comparison to other patterns attested in the same language is indicated in the relative importance field in the APiCS database.

We distinguish between sex-denoting words and affixes, which can either be preposed or postposed. Sex-denoting words can include 3SG pronouns (‘he’, ‘she’), nouns (e.g. ‘man’, ’woman’) or adjectives (e.g. ‘male’, ‘female’).


Magnus Huber and the APiCS Consortium


Preposed sex-denoting word31738
Postposed sex-denoting word23730
Sex-denoting prefix101
Sex-denoting suffix314

Language Value % Lexifier Details Source
Id Primary text Analyzed text Gloss Translation Type Language Audio Details