Introduction to Strong Neuter and Feminine Nouns

We have already seen the declensions of Strong Masculine Nouns in the first module. However, there are two further grammatical genders: Neuter and Feminine. These categories are purely grammatical and are determined on morphological grounds rather than referential ones. For example, while cwen - queen is ‘feminine’, wif - woman is 'neuter' and wifhand - heiress is 'masculine'. Similarly, referentially gender-neutral nouns like those for 'child' can be neuter like bearn or cild, but they can also be feminine like byren. Basically, there is no way of telling which grammatical gender a word belongs to from its meaning.

To quickly review the function of cases, the nominative form is used for the subject of a sentence. The genitive indicates possession. The accusative indicates a direct object. The dative indicates an indirect object.

Cases Overview
Case Old English Function
Nominative Þæt scip The ship (subject)
Accusative Þæt scip The ship (direct obj)
Genitive Þæs scipes The ship's (possessive)
Dative Þæm scipe The ship (indirect obj)

Now that we've reaffirmed how cases work, let's take a look at Strong Neuter Nouns and see their differences to Strong Masculine Nouns in more detail.

Return to Weak Verbs Overview Continue to Strong Neuter Nouns